Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Public safety

Arrest made in St. Petersburg and Largo purse snatchings

ST. PETERSBURG — The Snell Isle neighborhood alert warned of the purse snatchers.

The men were "driving around shopping center parking lots daily snatching purses by either ripping them off your arm while you walk through the parking lot or … from your cart when you step away momentarily."

Friday police announced that they had arrested one man in the series of purse snatchings that took place between Dec. 28 and Tuesday in St. Petersburg and Largo.

Timothy E. Jackson, 28, of 4301 11th Ave. S faces a long list of charges. They include two counts of fraudulent use of personal identification information, two counts of fraudulent use of a credit card, two counts of possession of stolen credit cards, grand theft of a motor vehicle, possession of marijuana and driving on a suspended driver's license.

Police said the car used in the thefts was a 2008 black Ford Fusion that had been stolen in Pinellas Park on Dec. 19.

According to Florida Department of Law Enforcement records, Jackson's arrests date to January 2000, when he was charged with vehicle theft. He served time in prison from September 2008 to October for robbery.

Law enforcement officials believe two people were involved in the purse snatchings, police spokesman Mike Puetz said. One was the getaway driver, while the other snatched the purse from the victim's hand or shopping cart, he said.

"They would usually take the credit cards and try to use them at department stores immediately," he said.

Police are looking for the second suspect.

The snatchings, sometimes two a day, occurred at Tyrone Gardens Shopping Center, 1050 58th St. N; Tyrone Square Mall, near JCPenney and Sears; Walmart, 201 34th St. N; Publix, 3501 49th St. N; Publix in the Northeast Park Shopping Center, 3700 Fourth St. N; Target, 8151 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. N; Target, 4450 Park St. N; and Family Dollar 11849 Seminole Blvd., Largo.

Barbara Heck, past president of the Snell Isle Property Owners Association, sent out the email alert.

"My concern was that everybody be safe when they go out," she said. "This was a wake-up call for all of us to be very careful when we go shopping, be aware of our surroundings and, for us ladies, our purses."

Puetz had some advice to offer.

"The main tip is to be aware of your surroundings, look for people who are overly interested in what you're doing," he said.

He suggested securing purses with the child restraints attached to shopping carts or with a clip brought from home.

"It doesn't make it foolproof, it just prevents them from quickly removing it and running," Puetz said.

Keeping bags on the shoulder is also a good idea, he said.

"I think it has to do with opportunity. It's important to pay attention."

Times researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this article. Waveney Ann Moore can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 892-2283.

Comments
Pinellas sheriff, feds to announce changes to immigration detention policies

Pinellas sheriff, feds to announce changes to immigration detention policies

Law enforcement and federal immigration officials will announce today new efforts around the use of immigration detainers.The detainers, or requests from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that local jails hold onto people suspected of being in...
Updated: 11 hours ago

St. Pete officer suspended for month after pushing concert guard

ST. PETERSBURG — A police officer was suspended for a month after he pushed a security guard at a summer concert in Tampa, according to St. Petersburg police.It could have been worse: Chief Tony Holloway determined Officer Curtis Wright could have be...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Casino boat operator in fatal fire had maintenance, safety issues before earlier blaze

Casino boat operator in fatal fire had maintenance, safety issues before earlier blaze

PORT RICHEY — The casino boat operator whose shuttle caught fire Sunday, leaving one passenger dead, says it does not know what could have caused the blaze.But federal records show the company, now called Tropical Breeze Casino Cruz, had another boat...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Hillsborough County firefighter gets the ax after investigators find ties to motorcycle gang

Hillsborough County firefighter gets the ax after investigators find ties to motorcycle gang

TAMPA — Hillsborough County officials fired a Fire Rescue medic Tuesday after an internal investigation concluded he had "unwavering loyalty" to the Outlaws Motorcycle Club — the state’s dominant biker gang.Clinton Neal Walker, 33, of Bradenton is th...
Updated: 10 hours ago

Man shot, runs for help to Bahama Breeze with suspects following

TAMPA — Attackers shot a Tampa man Monday night as he sat in his car then chased him as he fled to a nearby restaurant to get help, Tampa police said.The victim was taken to a hospital with injuries that were not life threatening.The incident occurre...
Published: 01/16/18

Man pistol-whipped resisting home invasion in Wimauma

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s office is looking for three men who broke into a Wimauma mobile home Tuesday morning, beat one of the residents with a pistol, stole cash and carjacked a vehicle to make their getaway.The incident occurred around 5:4...
Published: 01/16/18
Here’s the backstory of the Pasco casino boat operator whose ship caught on fire

Here’s the backstory of the Pasco casino boat operator whose ship caught on fire

By Zachary T. SampsonTimes Staff WriterLong before a shuttle ship from Tropical Breeze Casino caught fire Sunday off the coast of Port Richey, leaving one passenger dead, the company behind the operation was a source of controversy.The casino operato...
Published: 01/16/18
Florida love triangle led to a murder-for-hire plot, police say. But the wrong woman was killed.

Florida love triangle led to a murder-for-hire plot, police say. But the wrong woman was killed.

Heartbreak and jealously were the twin engines driving the scheme, police would later say. Ishnar Marie Lopez-Ramos was in love. The object of the 35-year-old Floridian’s affection, however, was tangled up with another woman. To solve her hear...
Published: 01/16/18

Florida boy, 6, dies of rabies contracted from a bat

ORLANDO — A 6-year-old Florida boy has died from rabies he contracted after being scratched by an infected bat.The father of Ryker Roque told NBC that the boy died Sunday at an Orlando hospital.Father Henry Roque said he had found a sick bat, put it ...
Published: 01/16/18

Pasco man fatally struck on Interstate 70 in Kansas

SALINA, Kan. — The Kansas Highway Patrol says a Florida man died after he was hit by a car as he walked along Interstate 70 near Salina.The patrol says 35-year-old Cody Nordlund of New Port Richey died Sunday night.He was walking in an eastbound lane...
Published: 01/16/18