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Police: Suspect attempted to bribe St. Petersburg officer on way to jail

ST. PETERSBURG — After he was arrested on charges of felony battery and DUI early Friday morning, police said Philip Charles Wood made this offer:

He would give an officer $300 to let the whole thing slide, according to St. Petersburg police. That's when a felony charge of bribery was added to the list of Wood's offenses.

According to police, Wood was first accused of assaulting a man about 3 a.m. at 233 Central Ave. Then officers noticed Wood driving by the scene of the assault and pulled him over.

The victim identified Wood. Officers also determined that Wood was driving while impaired, according to his arrest report. But he refused to take a Breathalyzer test or do field sobriety exercises.

Wood was placed under arrest. Then, about 4:40 a.m., as an officer drove him to the Pinellas County jail, police said Wood offered a $300 bribe to let him go and drop the charges.

Under state statute, law enforcement agencies can charge suspects for the time their officers spend investigating them. According to his arrest report, two St. Petersburg officers spent five hours total on his case at $25 an hour for a total of $125. That's what Wood apparently calculated the amount of his alleged bribe on.

"Defendant stated that I would only be getting $125 for investigative costs anyways," the officer wrote in a report, "so he would make it $300."

Wood should save his money. If convicted, he'll be responsible for paying that $125 and any other fees he incurs in court. The alleged bribe attempt was recorded by a surveillance system, police said.

Wood was being held in the county jail Friday afternoon in lieu of $15,250 bail. He was already out on bail for charges of burglary when he was arrested, police said.

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Police: Suspect attempted to bribe St. Petersburg officer on way to jail 05/28/10 [Last modified: Friday, May 28, 2010 5:02pm]
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