Sunday, April 22, 2018
Public safety

$20,000 bracelet stolen from Tampa jewelry store

TAMPA — For a jewelry store manager, it was a painful oversight.

For three men with bad intentions, it was an opportunity.

Leo Cortes, manager of the Bulgattie & Co. jewelry store in the University Mall, was uncharacteristically working alone on Friday night.

More importantly, the glass showcase that holds the store's finest pieces of jewelry had been left unlocked.

At about 7:30 p.m., two customers walked in and asked to see a women's $3,000 ring. A present for a girlfriend, they said.

A third man arrived and headed to back of the store. "He's looking. I don't see him doing anything suspicious at the time," Cortes recalled.

The two men asked to see another ring. One of them leaned on the glass and placed a large shopping bag on the showcase, obstructing Cortes' view of the third man.

Moments later, as the man in the back walked out, the others said they would later return.

It wasn't until closing time at about 8:30 p.m. that Cortes noticed the missing jewelry: a $20,000 white gold bracelet beaming with diamonds.

"Those guys were lucky that night," Cortes said.

The store usually is staffed by at least two employees. But on Friday, Cortes' son, who works at the store, left to run a business errand.

Cortes and his brother, Eddie Cortes, the store owner, watched the surveillance (in all, the store has 16 cameras), which captured the theft. As the customers distracted him, the third man reached over the counter, opened the jewelry case, snatched the bracelet and tucked it away in his pocket.

Next to the bracelet was what might be the store's most expensive item: a $50,000 18-karat gold Rolex.

The brothers called security, which called the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. Cortes said a detective picked up the surveillance video Monday.

The robbers were described as being in their 20s, except for one who was wearing a fedora and might be in his 30s, deputies say. The other two men were wearing baseball caps, and one had a red bill and the letter "A" on the front.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff's Office at (813) 247-8200, or Crime Stoppers toll-free at 1-800-873-8477.

"It just wasn't our day," Cortes said.

Comments
4 dead in Nashville Waffle House shooting; suspect sought

4 dead in Nashville Waffle House shooting; suspect sought

NASHVILLE, Tenn. —†A man wearing nothing but a coat stormed a Waffle House restaurant in Tennessee before dawn Sunday and shot four people to death, according to police, who credited a customer with saving lives by wresting a weapon away from t...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Teen killed in crash remembered as

Teen killed in crash remembered as "always smiling and laughing"

WEEKI WACHEE ó Seth Leathers was on his way to play basketball at his church when he was killed Wednesday in a car crash on U.S. 19 in Spring Hill, according to family friend Laurie Pike.Leathers, 16, was the passenger in a car driven by his friend G...
Updated: 6 hours ago
New Port Richey Woman dies in single-car crash on SR 580

New Port Richey Woman dies in single-car crash on SR 580

A 49-year-old woman died early Saturday in a single-car crash on State Road 580.Kristin Carlin, of New Port Richey, was driving in the eastbound lanes of SR 580 when she failed to round a curve and veered off the road near Charles Avenue, a Clearwate...
Published: 04/21/18
Man with multiple gun arrests now accused of fatally shooting Durant High football player

Man with multiple gun arrests now accused of fatally shooting Durant High football player

The first time deputies arrested Samuel Morrissey Jr., he faced charges of possession of marijuana and carrying a concealed firearm. He plead no contest in September, and the judge gave him a break by withholding adjudication. Ten days later, the 20-...
Published: 04/21/18
Man who attacked woman and stole her shorts arrested, deputies say

Man who attacked woman and stole her shorts arrested, deputies say

Deputies arrested a man they said tackled a woman in February and removed her shorts before fleeing.Robert Mark Hembree Jr., 31, was arrested late Friday. He faces charges of sexual battery and petit theft.PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Detectives seek man who a...
Published: 04/21/18
Dade City man killed in early morning hit-and-run, police say

Dade City man killed in early morning hit-and-run, police say

A Pasco County man was struck and killed in an apparent hit-and-run early Saturday, police said.Thomas Michael Burdeshaw, 53, who lived on Sundance Drive in Dade City, was hit about 1:45 a.m. on the 36000 block of Blanton Road, police said.Witnesses ...
Published: 04/21/18
Police searching for person who shot a man to death in Largo

Police searching for person who shot a man to death in Largo

CLEARWATER ó Police are looking for a person who shot and killed a man late Friday at the Melrose on the Bay apartments on Bolesta Road. Ricardo Guzman, 32, called 911 just before midnight and told the operator he had been shot, said Lt. Randall Chan...
Published: 04/21/18
Motorcyclist dies after crash on Memorial Highway

Motorcyclist dies after crash on Memorial Highway

TAMPA ó A motorcyclist driving north on Memorial Highway died after he crashed into a guard rail late Friday, police said."The man failed to negotiate a curve in the road and struck a guard rail," said Lt. Brett Owen. "No other vehicle was involved i...
Published: 04/21/18
Cops used dead manís finger in attempt to access his phone. Itís legal, but is it okay?

Cops used dead manís finger in attempt to access his phone. Itís legal, but is it okay?

LARGO ó Most people agree what the Largo detectives did at the funeral home was legal.What they diverge on is whether it was appropriate."I just felt so disrespected and violated," said Victoria Armstrong, whose fiance, Linus F. Phillip, was shot and...
Published: 04/20/18
Updated: 04/21/18
Deputies: Woman in road rage incident targeted ... a school bus?

Deputies: Woman in road rage incident targeted ... a school bus?

TAMPA ó Deputies are searching for a woman accused of blocking a special needs school bus with her car, getting out and banging and kicking on the bus door until she broke the glass.And there were four children inside, deputies said, as she shouted a...
Published: 04/20/18