Tuesday, November 20, 2018
Public safety

Clearwater police arrest seven in unlocked vehicle burglaries

CLEARWATER — Police rounded up seven people in three days in connection with a rash of burglaries of unlocked vehicles.

Two stolen firearms were also recovered, prompting a reminder from police that drivers should always lock their vehicles.

TAMPA BAY TIMES SPECIAL REPORT: STOLEN GUNS

PART 1: At least 82,000 guns stolen since 2007 are still missing in Florida

PART 2: Weak security makes gun stores a ‘rich environment’ for thieves

The first arrest was made Friday, when police said a 15-year-old boy was taken into custody for a series of unlocked vehicle burglaries.

Six arrests were made at two locations early Sunday morning.

Damir Hanna, 19, and a 16-year-old and 17-year-old were arrested at 4 a.m. Sunday at Park Place Apartments at 530 Fairwood Ave. after an officer spotted them driving a 2011 Hyundai Genesis that had been reported stolen from Tarpon Springs, according to Clearwater police. Officers said they found two stolen guns in the car.

All three face grand theft auto charges. Hannah also faces charges of carrying a concealed weapon, grand theft of a firearm and resisting arrest without violence, police said. The 16-year-old also faces a charge of being a delinquent in possession of a firearm charge.

Thirty minutes later, police said, someone reported that a group was pulling on vehicle door handles in the 800 block of Eldorado Avenue on Clearwater Beach. In that case, officers stopped another vehicle and said they found jewelry, wallets and a purse inside. They also arrested a 16-year-old and two 17-year-olds. All face multiple burglary charges.

In Clearwater alone, there have been 283 unlocked car burglaries so far this year and 26 guns stolen from cars, police said.

As for the seven people arrested this past weekend, they have a total of 62 prior arrests, said Clearwater police spokesman Rob Shaw.

The Tampa Bay Times is withhold the identities of the teens who were arrested because of their ages.

TAMPA BAY TIMES SPECIAL REPORT: HOW TEENS ARE DRIVING PINELLAS COUNTY’S CAR THEFT EPIDEMIC

HOT WHEELS: Kids are driving Pinellas County’s car-theft epidemic. It’s a dangerous — sometimes deadly — game.

THE CHASE: Cops, teen car thieves and a dangerous game

WRONG WAY: At 15, Isaiah Battle was the county’s No. 1 car thief. He had every reason to stop.

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