Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Fish thieves hit Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary

INDIAN SHORES — Bad news keeps coming for the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary.

Someone broke into the sanctuary, at 18328 Gulf Blvd., the night of March 7 and took about 100 pounds of fish from the organization's bait hut. It appears, operations manager Micki Eslick said, that whoever broke in had a key.

Indian Shores police say they have closed the case because they have no leads and no suspects.

The sanctuary, founded in 1971 by zoologist Ralph Heath, has in the past claimed to be the largest nonprofit wild bird hospital in the United States, with emergency facilities, a surgical center, and indoor and outdoor rehabilitation areas.

But finances have been periodically rocky for the organization and have become desperate in the past couple of years.

Last year, the federal government filed three liens totaling about $186,726 for unpaid payroll taxes. That seemed to unleash a tsunami of problems that include a finding by the U.S. Department of Labor that the sanctuary had left some employees unpaid for weeks. The sanctuary agreed to pay $21,336 in back wages.

This year, a mortgage holder filed notice that he plans to foreclose on a sanctuary-owned warehouse on Starkey Road. And the state filed a tax lien of about $7,684 for failure to pay unemployment taxes.

The sanctuary announced at the end of January that it could no longer take in sick and injured birds, but that it intended to stay open.

The sanctuary closed its hospital but remains open for tours. Eslick said the sanctuary is trying to raise funds to recover.

Anne Lindberg can be reached at alindberg@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8450.

Fish thieves hit Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary 03/15/13 [Last modified: Friday, March 15, 2013 10:54pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Manhattan Casino choice causes political headache for Kriseman

    Growth

    ST. PETERSBURG — Days before the mayoral primary, Mayor Rick Kriseman's decision to let a Floribbean restaurant open in Midtown's historic Manhattan Casino has caused political angst within the voting bloc he can least afford to lose: the black community.

    Last week Mayor Rick Kriseman chose a Floribbean restaurant concept to fill Midtown's historic Manhattan Casino. But that decision, made days before next week's mayoral primary, has turned into a political headache for the mayor. Many residents want to see the building's next tenant better reflect its cultural significance in the black community. [JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times]
  2. FSU-Bama 'almost feels like a national championship game Week 1'

    Blogs

    The buzz is continuing to build for next Saturday's blockbuster showdown between No. 1 Alabama and No. 3 Florida State.

  3. Plan a fall vacation at Disney, Universal, Busch Gardens when crowds are light

    Florida

    Now that the busy summer vacation season is ending, Floridians can come out to play.

    Maria Reyna, 8, of Corpus Cristi, TX. eats chicken at the Lotus Blossom Cafe at the Chinese pavilion at Epcot in Orlando, Fla. on Thursday, August 17, 2017.  Epcot is celebrating it's 35th year as the upcoming Food and Wine Festival kicks off once again.
  4. USF spends $1.5 million to address growing demand for student counseling

    College

    TAMPA — As Florida's universities stare down a mental health epidemic, the University of South Florida has crafted a plan it hopes will reach all students, from the one in crisis to the one who doesn't know he could use some help.

    A student crosses the University of South Florida campus in Tampa, where visits to the school's crisis center more than doubled last year, part of a spike in demand that has affected colleges across the country. The university is addressing the issue this year with $1.5 million for more "wellness coaches," counselors, online programs and staff training. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  5. PTA treasurer at Pinellas school accused of stealing $5,000

    Crime

    The treasurer of the Parent-Teacher Association at a Pinellas County elementary school faces a felony fraud charge after she was accused of stealing from the organization to pay her credit card and phone bills.

    Lisa McMenamin, 50, of Tarpon Springs, is facing felony charges of scheming to defraud the Brooker Creek Elementary Parent-Teacher Association, where she served as treasurer. She is accused of stealing $5,000 to pay credit card and phone bills. [Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]