Those who live near Nickcole Dykema’s mobile home in Brooksville, Florida say that she has been terrorizing the neighborhood for years.
“I was just petrified all the time,” next-door neighbor Dorothy Clagg told WTSP. “She had a habit of banging on the inside of her house all the time on the walls, and screaming and hollering.”
Paula Deford, another neighbor, caught Dykema on her home security system slicing through the window screens and slashing into her air conditioner with a large knife.
“She cut all the screens on these windows in one incident,” Deford told WTSP. There was also a second, similar incident.
And that’s what brought police to Dykema’s door: The 47-year-old isn’t supposed to have any knives. It’s a violation of her probation. She was arrested after being caught shoplifting at Dollar Tree in December, stealing chef knives with a sword down her pants and dagger around her waist.
Hernando County Sheriff’s deputies and Probation and Parole officers arrived to serve multiple felony warrants on Dykema when they discovered what they called a “house of horrors.”
One of the officers saw Dykema looking out of a broken window directly at him before she disappeared back into the home. When the group asked her to come out, she told them to leave.
Then Dykema used “a large sword or machete type weapon and attempted to stab” the officer, “missing his face and head by only inches,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement. Deputies then saw “a set of feet standing in the corner of the mobile home, possibly hiding under or behind a blanket,” as well as “a long, silver, shiny sword waving around behind the blanket.”
A different officer then used a bean bag round on her, but it “had no effect” and she ran into another room that “contained approximately 500 bladed weapons,” the statement said.
“It should be noted that many rooms in the residence contained at least that many weapons,” police added.
Despite lengthy negotiations between a crisis team and Dykema, it took officers five hours, two rounds of bean bag bullets and a stun gun to take her into custody.
By Wednesday evening, forensic technicians and detectives removed 3,714 bladed weapons from Dykema’s home. During the removal, several Hernando County Sheriff’s Office personnel received minor injuries.
“It is believed that Dykema ‘booby trapped’ many of the bladed weapons, blankets, floors inside, and even the yard outside the residence, causing injury to our personnel when dismantling and/or removing these items,” police said in a statement on Thursday.
Investigators also found a “satanic-like shrine, chicken bones, and fake bloody body parts” inside her house.
“You name it, it was there,” Sheriff Al Nienhuis told WSVN. “I was told there was even some tied to the fan.”
The setup of the altar and the appearance of a pentagram implied satanic worship and that “it’s not outside the realm of possibility that there’s probably some mental illness here,” Nienhuis told WTSP.
Both Nienhuis and neighbors believe Dykema is dangerous.
“The person was obviously dangerous to the community,” Nienhuis said in a statement. “It amazes me that these deputies were able to take her into custody without anyone being injured. It shows the level of their restraint and professionalism under very difficult and dangerous conditions. Had something gone wrong, it would be easy for critics to accuse them of moving too quickly or too slowly.”
“I know she’s very dangerous,” Deford told WTSP.
“Everyone in this neighborhood was scared of that woman, everyone around here,” neighbor Fuzz Spisok said. “How did she get all of those knives?”
Dykema has been charged with three counts of probation violation, criminal mischief and property damage, resisting an officer without violence and assault on an officer.