CLEARWATER — As if sunburns and talk of tar balls weren't enough of a cause for concern for beachgoers, there have been a recent rash of thefts on Clearwater Beach.
Four different incidents were reported between June 10 and Monday, police said.
In each case, victims lost much more than their oversized beach towels. When beachgoers took a dip or went strolling along the surf, their purses, wallets, cash, credit cards, cell phones, iPods and mp3 players were filched from their spots in the sand.
All four thefts occurred on the west side of the Clearwater Beach island, stretching from the 300 block of S Gulfview Boulevard on the south end to Rockaway Street farther north.
Investigators don't know yet if the four thefts are related, said Clearwater police spokeswoman Beth Watts. Police are warning beach visitors not to leave their possessions unattended.
While these four incidents mark a recent spike, Watts said, overall beach towel thefts are slightly down from last year. There were eight reported thefts on Clearwater Beach last June, she said, while only four have occurred so far this month.
And at this point in 2009, there were 35 reports of theft on the beach for the year. Only 29 have occurred so far in 2010.
Reach Martine Powers at (727) 445-4224 or firstname.lastname@example.org.