Teen who raises cancer funds gains honor
Patrick Pedraja, 13, has been named a Huggable Hero by Build-A-Bear Workshop Inc. The Palm Harbor teen joins an elite group of 12 young people from the United States and Canada who are being honored for their leadership, dedication and compassion. Patrick, diagnosed with leukemia at age 10, created "Driving For Donors," a charity that aims to increase the number of people on the national marrow donor list. He travels around the country holding marrow drives to help find life-saving matches for people in need. He has raised more than $160,000 and has helped add more than 15,000 new donors to the National Marrow Registry.
Traffic stop yields card theft arrests
A Tampa man arrested Monday in St. Petersburg during a traffic stop not only possessed dozens of counterfeit credit cards, but had used them to make numerous purchases at area Wal-Mart stores in May, authorities say. Felix Rodriguez-Bravo, 29, of 3602 Landings Way faces felony charges of trafficking in counterfeit credit cards, scheme to defraud and fraudulent use of a credit card. He was released from the Pinellas County Jail on Monday evening after posting $45,000 bail. According to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, Rodriguez-Bravo and another suspect, whose name is not being released, were captured on surveillance video at multiple Wal-Marts, including ones in Oldsmar and Palm Harbor, using the counterfeit cards. On one occasion, Rodriguez-Bravo made five purchases totaling $1,515.99.
Tip leads to arrest in child porn ring
A 40-year-old man accused of exchanging images of sex crimes against children younger than 12 was arrested Tuesday by Largo police. An anonymous tip was sent to police accusing Randall Scott Grinder, who was living at the InTown Suites at 2833 Roosevelt Blvd. and has a permanent address in Bartow, Ga., of sending three pornographic pictures via text message to people he met in a chat room, said Largo Sgt. Andy Hill. Those recipients would then send back other pictures, including images of children being sexually battered. Grinder was charged with one count of possession of child pornography and another count of promotion of child pornography, according to jail logs. Other charges of possession will be filed soon, Hill said.