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Police accuse man of stealing from beach visitors' blankets

CLEARWATER — Police arrested a 19-year-old man Thursday in connection with thefts of items from Clearwater Beach visitors.

Jemiah Rashad Darling-Johnson was at Clearwater Beach on Thursday when he snatched a woman's iPhone lying on top of a beach blanket while she went for a swim, arrest affidavits show.

Darling-Johnson is also accused of stealing a French passport and driver's license from a beach visitor's backpack July 2.

He also tried to sell several stolen cellphones, including an iPhone swiped from another beach visitor July 10, according to Largo and Clearwater police arrest affidavits.

Darling-Johnson, of Largo, faces several charges, including dealing in stolen property, resisting arrest without violence, and petit and grand theft.

This summer, Clearwater police noted a spike in beach blanket thefts. From May to July, nearly 40 beach blanket thefts were reported in Clearwater Beach. Last year during the same time period, it was 22.

Police attribute the increase to more visitors. About seven arrests have been made.

Darling-Johnson was booked at the Pinellas County jail, where he remained Friday in lieu of $34,300 bail.

Police accuse man of stealing from beach visitors' blankets 08/02/13 [Last modified: Friday, August 2, 2013 9:37pm]
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