Orange County

Homeless woman arrested for smashing goose eggs 2 weeks from hatching in Lake Eola Park, police say

ORLANDO, Fla. — A homeless woman was arrested Sunday for breaking more than a dozen goose eggs in Lake Eola Park that were within two weeks of hatching, according to police.

Gayle Wessel, 55, is being charged with one count of criminal mischief for removing 16 graylag goose eggs from their nest and breaking them, according to an arrest affidavit.

Orlando police officers arrived at the scene and met with Wessel and an Orlando park ranger, who said a witness saw flagged him down and said he saw Wessel breaking the eggs. Wessel said she broke three to five eggs because she thought they were rotten and had seen other ducks eating them.

A city volunteer who assists with the care of animals in Lake Eola Park arrived on scene and told police the eggs were intact and not rotten on Saturday, and that they were within two weeks of hatching.

Read: Florida woman hits assailant with hammer, deputies say

The eggs were worth about $3,200 total, according to police.

“Thousands of people each year enjoy watching the nesting and hatching of swans and other birds at Lake Eola Park,” District 4 Commissioner Patty Sheehan told Channel 9. “It has become a beautiful rite of spring for many. It is awful that some people come to the park to kill or maim our beloved animals. They will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Adam Poulisse,

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.