6 nabbed in hunt for unlicensed contractors
Clearwater Police Department detectives from the Economic Crimes Unit took part in a sting that targeted contractors operating without state licenses. The sting, which took place Monday through Thursday, netted six arrests. Robert J. Ritz, 55; Jerry Garza, 40; Mark Fisher, 44; Samuel E. Smith, 58; Eric T. Petrone, 34; and Leonard M. Magness, 55, were charged with offering general or electrical contracting work without a license. The crackdown was a joint investigation between the Clearwater Police Department and the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. Police say the suspects advertised their services online. An undercover decoy posing as a potential business owner and client contacted them for potential job bids. A vacant office at 19321 US 19 N was used as the location to sign contracts and receive a deposit. Once they arrived, the suspects were arrested and given a notice to appear in court. The sting was an attempt to safeguard residents from potentially shoddy work, additional costs to meet compliance with state and local codes, and liabilities associated with faulty work, Clearwater police said.
Free document shredding today
The Clearwater Police Department is providing free document shredding today at Westfield Countryside Mall. The goal is to reduce the chances of identity theft by shredding any documents that contain personal information. Anyone can bring documents to be shredded on-site at no charge from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
SPCA offers leash training for Fido
All About the Leash will be offered at 11:30 a.m. today at the Tampa Bay SPCA, 9099 130th Ave. N, Largo. This hands-on presentation will provide instruction to pet owners and their canine companions so they can walk with confidence and manners on a leash. Cost: $10 for SPCA Tampa Bay adopters; $15 to the public. Dogs must have current rabies vaccinations to attend. For information, visit www.spcatampa.org or call (727) 586-3591. Participants must sign up online to attend this class.
Fundraiser to help pay for surgery
Blake Adams, a third-grader at Garrison Jones Elementary School, was born with microtia-atresia, which means he was born without a left ear and ear drum. The 8-year-old has already undergone several surgeries without success, and he will travel in June to the Waverly Surgical Center in East Palo Alto, Calif., for another. To help with the cost, friends and family will hold Hope for Blake from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today at Dunedin Community Center, 1920 Pinehurst Road. The fundraiser will include bounce houses, carnival games, face painting, live music, a tricky dog show, a puppet show and raffles. A wrist band for the children's activities will be available for $10. Organizers also have set up an account at Wachovia Bank for donations to the Blake Adams Surgery Fund. For information, e-mail Melissa Springer at firstname.lastname@example.org.