It never occurred to Tiffany Mattzela that the feces she found in her driveway last week was human, that a man had copped a squat between the two vehicles parked there and relieved himself in public.
Then she watched her home security video and saw that’s exactly what happened.
She was disgusted.
Mattzela lives in the historic, hip neighborhood of Hillcrest in Little Rock, Ark., a vibrant area full of families and young professionals. She is the director of special events and stewardship for the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra.
Mattzela and her fiance were headed out to breakfast on the morning of Dec. 30 when they found the pile of poop in the driveway. They assumed it was from an animal but they knew their neighbors were good about cleaning up after their pets.
So when they got home they checked the security video.
“We just thought ‘this person has a huge dog, we wonder who it is.’ It was more a curiosity thing,” Mattzela said.
“Lo and behold. It wasn’t a dog. It was a man.”
The video showed a man, about 6:45 that morning, run between the two vehicles in the driveway, squat down, “and then you see him run away,” she said.
Her fiance was furious. He went on the neighborhood social network app, Nextdoor, “and pretty much challenged the person to come back and clean it up,” she said.
That’s when other neighbors in the area began commenting that they, too, had found human feces in their yards and outside their doors over the last few months.
“I thought it could be the same person,” Mattzela said. “I’ve heard of runners having accidents and having to really go when they’re out for a run.”
But, she said, if the person was a neighbor that meant they weren’t far from their own bathroom or the one at the gas station close by.
Then on Wednesday morning, juggling an armload of things, she walked out to her SUV and grabbed the handle on the driver’s side to open the door.
Someone had shoved toilet paper soiled with feces under the handle.
“I thought someone was going to come out of their house and think I fell or I’d been attacked,” she said. “I immediately knew what it was.”
She washed her hands until they bled. She grabbed a pair of plastic gloves and a bottle of bleach and washed off the door handle. Then she called the police non-emergency number. A police officer came and took a report.
Little Rock police have confirmed to local media they are investigating the incident but have offered few details.
“I think people are just weirded out,” Mattzela said of her neighbors.
The Arkansas neighborhood is at least the third in recent months to be soiled by public defecation. A woman who became known as the “Mad Pooper” left dirty piles around a Colorado Springs, Colo., neighborhood last fall.
In December a woman in an Orchard Park, N.Y., neighborhood complained to police that someone — maybe a jogger — left poop and soiled tissue outside her home.
Mattzela worries about the situation escalating. The surveillance video shows it was the same person defecting in the driveway and shoving the toilet paper under the door handle.
“It’s kind of funny ... but at the same time it’s creepy and invasive,” she said. “It feels very personal even though you know it’s not.”
Some neighbors think they know who the person is, and Mattzela just hopes he gets help if he needs it.
“I didn’t think I’d be spending my 15 minutes of fame like this,” said Mattzela, who just got engaged before Christmas, “but here we are.”