Second person jailed in string of robberies
Police have arrested a second person in connection with armed robberies early Saturday morning. Arthur Devon White-Benjamin, 21, of 1369 Madison Ave. S, was charged Tuesday with aggravated assault and two counts of robbery with a deadly weapon. Arrest reports say White-Benjamin was among a group that committed at least six armed robberies Saturday, fleeing each time in a red Mazda. In one stickup just after 3 a.m., White-Benjamin put a gun to a man's chest at Cleveland Street and Main Avenue South while another robber aimed a gun at the man's head, police said. The group robbed the man before jumping into the Mazda and taking off. About 5:30 a.m., the group approached a man in the 1400 block of Cleveland Street. Police said 20-year-old Kimberly Shawley, an accomplice of White-Benjamin's, approached the man and distracted him while two gunmen stepped up and robbed him of his cash, cell phone and keys. Shawley was arrested Monday. White-Benjamin told police he was the getaway driver in that case. He said he and at least four other people drove around that morning "in search of easy targets to rob," according to arrest reports. Police were still investigating the robberies Thursday, while White-Benjamin was held in Pinellas County Jail in lieu of $110,000 bail.
Police sweep gets 11 on drug charges
Clearwater police have arrested 11 people this week on various drug charges during a roundup of suspects, authorities said. The department's vice and narcotics unit, along with the anticrime team, picked up four men and one woman wanted on drug violations and performed an undercover operation in areas including East Gateway and the downtown corridor that netted five more men and a woman on charges of sale and possession of cocaine. One of those arrested was also charged with prostitution, police said.
Welcome center to open on beach
The Clearwater Beach Chamber of Commerce will open a welcome center inside the newly opened Surf Style, at 315 S Gulfview Blvd. The center will hold maps, brochures and guides to help tourists and visitors find places to stay and eat. Open 24/7, the shop is on the ground floor of a parking garage next to the Hyatt Regency resort.
School supplies to be distributed
The Safety Harbor Neighborhood Family Center will host its 10th annual Back to School celebration on Aug. 20. The center serves Safety Harbor, Oldsmar and eastern Clearwater. The celebration and distribution of backpacks will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Safety Harbor City Park, 940 Seventh Ave. S. Last year, the center provided more than 1,000 students from kindergarten through 12th grade with backpacks and school supplies. The public can help by donating supplies or volunteering time. Call (727) 791-8255.