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Electricity theft alleged; power cut to apartments

CLEARWATER — Pinellas County authorities cut what they said was stolen electricity to eight apartments Thursday night. That left residents with no power or water and opened another investigation into a landlord whose Oldsmar property showed a similar suspected theft last week.

The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office has yet to report how many tenants were affected at the four two-unit apartments around 15652 Westminster Ave. near Clearwater, said spokeswoman Cecilia Barreda. No eviction notices have been posted and some residents stayed in their homes overnight.

Lawrence Ayers, the 42-year-old Safety Harbor landlord who owns the apartments, also owns a three-unit apartment building at 3606 Meriden Ave. that had power disconnected and 15 residents evicted last week. Charges against Ayers have been referred to the State Attorney's Office.

Barreda said tenants were referred to "alternative housing services" like the American Red Cross for aid. A spokeswoman for that organization said last week that tenants would not be assisted.

Electricity theft alleged; power cut to apartments 06/26/09 [Last modified: Friday, June 26, 2009 8:10pm]
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