Dead sharks found in unusual places

Dead shark found in Walmart parking lot, another on North Beach driveway

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – A shark was found last week in the parking lot of a St. Augustine Walmart on the same day that deputies got another call about a shark found on a driveway in North Beach, the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office said.

It's still a mystery how they got there.

Walmart employee Silas Ware III said that his coworkers found a dead shark last Friday in the store's parking lot off U.S. 1 near County Road 207.

"Ahh! That is a shark in the parking lot? I don't know what's going on?" Ware said, describing his reaction to the discovery.

Ware collects shopping carts outside of the store and he said he makes some pretty unusual discoveries on the job.

"But that was one of the bizarrest things I've seen," Ware said.

Deputies said that the shark was initially found on the windshield of an RV parked in the lot, but the RV's owner didn't know what to do with it, so he put it on the ground -- and that's when employees found it.

But that wasn't all -- the same day, another dead shark was found in the driveway of a North Beach home.

So what was a shark doing in a shopping cart nearly five miles away from the nearest beach? No one knows, but News4Jax went to an expert on Thursday to find out more about the fishy finds.

Dr. Jim Gelsleichter, an associate professor of biology at the University of North Florida, said that there have been more than 15 different species of sharks spotted off the coast of Northeast Florida.

"But in the Walmart parking lot, that's a bit uncommon," Gelsleichter said.

He said it's difficult to tell by looking just at the photos, but the shark found in the Walmart parking lot resembles a black tip, or spinner shark.

"It does look like there's a black spot to the bottom edge of the fin and it also appears to have black tips on the second dorsal fin," Gelsleichter said. "This is a pretty long shark for me anyway... This is probably about a four and a half to five foot animal, and that's pretty common for this species."

He couldn't tell how it died, but noticed something odd.

"The shark looked to be unusual, it was very wrinkly, so it looked like it may have been in someone's freezer and freezer-burned, or perhaps it dried out," Gelsleichter said.

The mystery remains -- who put the sharks on the RV and the driveway? Ware said he has a pretty good idea why.

"I imagine they left it because they didn't want it," he said.

Florida Fish and Wildlife officials have recovered the sharks for proper disposal.