band director denies cursing, asks hearing
The former director of the city of Dunedin Pipe Band denies allegations that he cursed and made derogatory comments about children scheduled to dance at the March 28 Dunedin Military Tattoo, the incident that officials say resulted in his dismissal April 15. Sandy Keith, who declined comment for a St. Petersburg Times story last week about his ouster, said in a statement sent to the Times this week that he didn't get a chance to defend himself before the city terminated his contract. Keith also wrote that he has witnesses who would support his version of events.
Pharmacy tech arrested in thefts
Largo police arrested a Publix pharmacy technician Tuesday they believe stole drugs from the store by altering the inventory. Rebecca L. Ruark, 27, of St. Petersburg, faces eight felony charges, which range from making false entries on company books and possession of a controlled substance to grand theft. She remained in the Pinellas County Jail on $22,000 bail Wednesday. According to authorities, Ruark admitted after her arrest to taking a significant amount of medications from the store at 5000 East Bay Drive in Largo during the past 10 months and to changing the inventory to "facilitate" the thefts. The stolen property was valued by police at more than $2,500. During Ruark's arrest, two bottles containing numerous stolen pills were found in her pocket, police said. Among them were hydrocodone and Ambien.
Police say teen was selling crack
Suspicious about the unusually high number of visitors to Room 121 at the Budget Inn motel, Clearwater police went to check it out. They found a 16-year-old boy selling crack cocaine at 1:30 a.m. Wednesday, authorities said. Sharma Thomas was arrested at the East Gateway area motel at 1471 Court St. and charged with felony trafficking in crack cocaine. Police said they found 40 grams of the drug in the room. Thomas, of the 1200 block of Eldridge Street in Clearwater, was taken to the Pinellas County Juvenile Assessment Center. Several other occupants of the room were evicted by management after police notified them of the arrest, Clearwater police said.