NEW PORT RICHEY
Man arrested, charged with abusing toddler
A 30-year-old man is in jail on accusations he punched a toddler in the face. According to the New Port Richey Police Department, Nathan W. Merritt gave the 17-month-old boy a black eye. A woman, whose relationship to the child was not disclosed, came home Tuesday night and told police she found Merritt holding the toddler facedown on a bed and digging his thumb into the child's back. When questioned, Merritt told officers he didn't remember what happened, according to his arrest report. Merritt, who lives at 5807 Wyoming Ave. in New Port Richey, was arrested Wednesday on a charge of child abuse. He remained at the Land O'Lakes jail Thursday in lieu of $2,000 bail. Because of the nature of the charge, his relationship to the child was not released.
Police say car was test-driven, stolen
John Joseph Porter took a car for a test drive at Friendly Kia and liked it so much he stole it, according to a report from the New Port Richey Police Department. The report says the theft happened in December. After test driving the car, Porter, 47, told the sales manager he wanted to look at buying something different. Shortly afterward, Porter was gone — and so was the car used on the test-drive. Neighbors told authorities they saw Porter cruising around in the car and he told them he bought it. It was later found burned in the front yard of a house where Porter was living, the report states. Porter, of 8120 Mockernut Lane in Port Richey, was arrested Monday and charged with grand theft auto. He remained at the Land O'Lakes jail Thursday in lieu of $14,539 bail.
Phone left behind after car burglary
A burglar broke into a car July 2 and stole bottles of rum and vodka, but left something more valuable behind: his cell phone, with his picture on the screen, according to the Dade City Police Department. Dustin Sabo, 20, apparently left his blue phone in the car during the burglary in the parking lot of Premier Health Care, 14027 Fifth St., the police report said. When the car owner found the phone and turned it on, the screen showed a photo of Sabo. He was arrested Wednesday on charges of auto burglary and theft, as well as possession of cocaine and drug paraphernalia and violating his felony probation. Sabo, of 37937 Hillside Lane, is being held without bail at the county jail.