NEW PORT RICHEY
Man arrested in series of purse snatchings
A 26-year-old man has been charged with a string of purse snatchings in supermarket parking lots. On at least six occasions, Pasco County Sheriff's Office reports say, Johnathan Leo Becude grabbed a shopper's purse as she was loading groceries into her car. Each time he hit a new location: the Winn-Dixie in Moon Lake, the Walmart in Hudson, a Publix on Little Road, the Sweetbay in New Port Richey, another Publix on Ridge Road, and a Land O'Lakes Publix. A seventh woman, who was shopping at the New Port Richey Walmart, managed to grab her purse back and was dragged several feet before Becude let go and fled, authorities said. All of the victims described the same getaway car: an older model white car with a plastic bag covering the missing passenger's side window. All told, the stolen purses and their contents were worth $2,744. Deputies say Becude also used some of the stolen credit cards for fraudulent purchases. Becude, of Shady Hills, was arrested Jan. 13 on charges including grand theft, robbery by sudden snatching, possession and fraudulent use of stolen credit cards. He is also being held on grand theft warrants out of Hernando County. He remained at the Land O'Lakes jail Tuesday in lieu of $147,150 bail.
Two principals earn promotions
Two Pasco County schools will be needing new leadership as their principals have won promotions to district-level jobs. Anclote High principal Monica Ilse, who took her school from an F to an A grade in one year, will become the district's third learning community executive director, superintendent Kurt Browning announced Tuesday. Gulf Highlands Elementary principal Kara Smucker, assigned to turn around that school after it earned an F, will become a principal coach — a new position in the district. Ilse would begin her new job soon, while Smucker would switch positions after the school year ends, Browning said. The appointments go to the School Board for approval on Tuesday.
Truck's sharp turn causes damage
A Waste Services of Florida garbage truck lost control after a mismanaged turn Monday afternoon, taking out road signs and landscaping at a Connerton entrance. The driver, Charles Kory, was driving north on U.S. 41 about 2:30 p.m. when he tried to make a sharp turn onto Pleasant Plains Parkway, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. The truck flipped onto its side and slid across the road, ripping up landscaping and damaging two road signs and a Connerton sign. Kory, 42, of Spring Hill, was treated at Spring Hill Regional Hospital for minor injuries. He was cited for making an improper turn.
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