Tuesday, December 12, 2017
News Roundup

News at noon: Manhunt for escaped inmates; drunk driver hits deputy's car; Realtors' outlook; new restaurants for 2016

It was a daring and elaborate escape: cutting through metal, crawling through plumbing tunnels, climbing a roof, rappelling four stories to freedom using ropes made from bedsheets. But this wasn't a Hollywood movie; it was a real-life breakout that left authorities struggling to find three escapees — one a suspected killer — and put together the pieces of how they managed to escape a Southern California maximum-security jail.

Sometimes authorities have to seek out suspected drunken drivers. Other times, the suspects come to them. Hillsborough County deputies were arresting one drunken driving suspect Sunday when another car sideswiped the patrol car. And when a deputy caught up to that driver? You guessed it. He had alcohol on his breath, red and glassy eyes and slurred speech, deputies said.

Coming off a robust year for Tampa Bay homes sales, area Realtors have a mixed forecast for 2016. We talked with four prominent local Realtors to get their take on what's in store for the housing market.

Bloomin' Brands CEO Liz Smith landed this month on Nation's Restaurant News' prestigious "Power List 2016" spotlighting the 50 most powerful people to watch in the food service industry. Smith was anointed, says the industry publication, because she is "leading the charge to overcome the casual-dining segment slowdown."

Worries over restaurant slowdowns don't appear to be affecting the Tampa Bay area too greatly. We're poised for a serious avalanche of notable new restaurants this spring. Already 2016 is heating up with fresh concepts that bring novelty to area tables.

One St. Petersburg restaurant that seemed to have trouble launching this past year seems to have settled into a more regular schedule, but, as Laura Reiley points out, Pericos will have to button down a number of other details before it stands a fighting chance in this densely competitive market.

And if you haven't checked it out yet, don't miss Laura's list of the Top 50 restaurants of Tampa Bay.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of one of the greatest albums of all time, the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds. To mark the occasion, singer, songwriter and Beach Boys mastermind Brian Wilson is taking Pet Sounds out on the road one last time. Wilson has announced plans to perform Pet Sounds in full on an extensive 2016 tour, which will include a stop at St. Petersburg's Mahaffey Theater.

News at noon is a weekday feature from tampabay.com. Check in Monday through Friday for updates and information on the biggest stories of the day.

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The Bucs’ problem isn’t how they finish; it’s how they start

The Bucs’ problem isn’t how they finish; it’s how they start

For the second straight week, the Buccaneers had the ball in the final minutes of a tie game.For the second straight week, they could not finish.As disappointing as that might be, they have a larger problem, and one that has existed all season: The B...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Defendant asks jurors: Do I look like Charles Manson?

Defendant asks jurors: Do I look like Charles Manson?

LARGO — Daniel Richards, on trial for the murder of his 83-year-old mother, began his own criminal defense on Tuesday by asking a few questions to the pool of prospective jurors."If you were accused of killing your mother, would you want to represent...
Updated: 17 minutes ago
Two of St. Petersburg’s assistant police chiefs leaving next month

Two of St. Petersburg’s assistant police chiefs leaving next month

ST. PETERSBURG — Two assistant police chiefs are stepping down next month, leaving two of the three of the second-in-command jobs vacant at the St. Petersburg Police Department.Assistant Chief Jim Previtera announced this week that he will resign fro...
Updated: 19 minutes ago
Tampa police looking for Plant City girl, 15, considered to be in danger

Tampa police looking for Plant City girl, 15, considered to be in danger

TAMPA — Police were searching Tuesday for a missing 15-year-old Plant City girl who disappeared from a Tampa girls school.Zoe Warren was last seen about 8 a.m. Monday at the PACE Center for Girls, 1933 E. Hillsborough Ave., where she attends school, ...
Updated: 22 minutes ago
Ex-Facebook VP: Social media destroying society with ‘dopamine-driven feedback loops’

Ex-Facebook VP: Social media destroying society with ‘dopamine-driven feedback loops’

Washington PostA former Facebook executive is making waves after he spoke out about his "tremendous guilt" over growing the social network, which he feels has eroded "the core foundations of how people behave by and between each other."Chamath Paliha...
Updated: 26 minutes ago
New tracking system could help put a dent in juvenile car theft epidemic

New tracking system could help put a dent in juvenile car theft epidemic

LAKE MARY — Hundreds more juveniles who steal cars each year could be kept off the streets under a new tool approved by a Department of Juvenile Justice committee Tuesday, a move that could put a dent in a dangerous local car theft epidemic.Secretary...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Largo man arrested after passenger falls out of minivan and dies

Largo man arrested after passenger falls out of minivan and dies

PLANT CITY — A Largo man struck a pedestrian with a minivan last Friday, authorities said. Five minutes later, his female passenger was fatally struck by on-coming traffic after falling out of the vehicle.Plant City police arrested Todd Charles Riggs...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Former Tampa police sergeant to be sentenced in tax fraud case

Former Tampa police sergeant to be sentenced in tax fraud case

TAMPA — LaJoyce Houston admits that she benefitted from the proceeds of tax refund fraud.But the former Tampa police sergeant denies that she was ever an active participant in a fraud scheme, according to a memo filed in her federal criminal case. An...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Illegal card skimmer discoveries in Tampa Bay double in 2017

Illegal card skimmer discoveries in Tampa Bay double in 2017

State investigators have discovered more than double the number of credit card skimmers in the Tampa Bay area in 2017 than in 2016 — with still a few weeks left in the year. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services found 54 skimmer...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Editorial: Tax cuts aren’t worth harm to Tampa Bay

Editorial: Tax cuts aren’t worth harm to Tampa Bay

As congressional negotiators hammer out the details on an enormous, unnecessary tax cut, the potential negative impact on Tampa Bay and Florida is becoming clearer. The harmful consequences stretch far beyond adding more than $1.4 trillion to the fed...
Updated: 1 hour ago