Copper thefts appear related; police seek tips
Clearwater police are investigating a rash of copper thefts and are asking for the public's help. In the past month, 17 air-conditioning units have been vandalized, and police believe the thief or thieves are stealing copper and aluminum, which can be sold at metal recycling centers, said Clearwater police spokeswoman Beth Watts. All the thefts appear to be related and have happened at night. The thefts have occurred at 11 businesses, four churches, a school and a residence. In most cases, the units were at the back of the building or in a secluded area. In two cases, the units were on the roofs. The thefts were originally occurring mostly near Sunset Point Road and North Highland Avenue. More recently, the thefts have been near Gulf to Bay Boulevard and Cleveland Street. Police ask anyone with information to call the Clearwater police tip line at (727) 562-4080 (press 2). To remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-8477.
Nominate next Mr./Ms. Clearwater
The deadline is Friday to nominate someone for Mr. or Ms. Clearwater. Every year for the last half-century, one worthy person has earned the prestigious award from the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce in recognition of exceptional community service. Entries should be sent to the chamber (Attn: Bob Clifford, CEO) at 401 Cleveland St., Clearwater, FL 33755.
Prayer vigil for hate crime victims
Unity Church of Clearwater, 2465 Nursery Road, will host a candlelight prayer Vigil of Remembrance at 7 p.m. Friday in honor of victims of hate crimes against transgendered individuals internationally in the past year. Keynote speaker will be Tobias Packer, new media manager of Equality Florida. Also participating will be Robin Hanks, executive director of As I Am, and Janice Carney, executive director of FORGE (Florida Organization for Gender Equality). Clergy will include the Rev. Abhi Janamanchi, senior minister of Unitarian Universalists, and the Rev. Leddy Hammock, minister at Unity Church of Clearwater. For more information, call Janice Carney at (727) 748-5678 or Unity Church at (727) 531-0992.
Gas leak causes street closure
The intersection of Forest Lakes and Brooker Creek boulevards was closed briefly Wednesday afternoon because of a gas leak. At 2:18 p.m. Wednesday, construction crews struck a 2-inch gas main, said Oldsmar fire Chief Scott McGuff. There was no explosion, just leaking, he said. No one was injured, and no businesses were evacuated. Nielsen Co. is south of the affected area. United HealthCare is also nearby. Less than an hour after the leak, the gas company arrived and isolated the affected valve.