Make us your home page

Florida Craftsmen Gallery takes step to protect against theft

ST. PETERSBURG — Outside the door to the Florida Craftsmen Gallery, a man in a white polo waits.

Gallery assistant Maggie Duffy looks up from the counter to see him and pushes a button.

A buzzing sound signals that the door is open. It's not the most personal greeting, but executive director Maria Emilia said the buzzer was necessary after a string of thefts.

• • •

First, it was two glass sculptures stolen in February during early morning hours.

Thieves knew exactly what they came for, found it and walked out.

Emilia watched the security videos in disbelief as the thieves made their way through the gallery.

"The familiarity they had, it was just spooky," she said.

A few weeks later a laptop was stolen, presumably during a gallery walk.

The gallery at 501 Central Ave. routinely staffs only one person in the front, making it difficult to monitor visitors while assisting others.

Then came the buzzer.

It gives employees a chance to see who's coming in, Emilia said. Other gallery employees can gauge if more help is needed on the floor.

So far customers haven't complained.

"We didn't know what to expect but there has been hardly any comments," she said.

St. Petersburg police recommend buzzers as a crime deterrent, said police spokesman George Katsja. They control traffic through stores with limited staffing.

Just a few doors down, three men broke into the Table last summer and assaulted an employee. Two sculptures were also stolen from the Arts Center.

Despite recent events, Emilia doesn't think downtown is any less safe.

"I think we are responding to a particular incident," she said. "I don't think that the area's dangerous."

Jackie Alexander can be reached at (727) 893-8779 or

Florida Craftsmen Gallery takes step to protect against theft 05/26/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 26, 2009 1:18pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Tampa is 15th-most popular city to move to with U-Haul


    TAMPA —Tampa is undoubtedly a destination point, at least according to U-Haul.

    Tampa is the No. 15 destination for people moving with U-Haul trucks. | Times file photo
  2. Florida's economy growing faster than other big states and far better than U.S. overall


    When it comes to economic growth, Florida's running alongside the leading states and well ahead of the United States as a whole.

  3. Westshore Marina District project takes shape with another acquisition

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — One of Tampa Bay's prime waterfront areas took another major step toward redevelopment Friday as WCI Communities bought 2.35 acres in Westshore Marina District.

    WCI Communities, Lennar's high-end subsidiary,has paid $2.5 million for 2.35 acres in the Westshore Marina District for 35 townhomes. WCI is under contract  to buy an additional 9.5 acres.
[BTI Partners]
  4. Posh Guy Harvey RV park to open in Tampa Bay with $250,000 cottages


    HOLIDAY — Love those Guy Harvey T-shirts with the soaring marlins? In the not too distant future, you might be able to kick back in your own Guy Harvey cottage in the first-ever Guy Harvey RV park.

    Renderings of the clubhouse and an RV cottage site of the planned Guy Harvey Outpost Club & Resort Tarpon Springs.
[Guy Harvey Outpost Collection]
  5. Port Tampa Bay secures $9 million grant to deepen Big Bend Channel


    Port Tampa Bay has secured a $9 million grant from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the widening and deepening of the Big Bend Channel in southern Hillsborough County.