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Suspect in New Year's burglaries linked to more crimes, deputies say

PALM HARBOR — One of the men who sheriff's deputies say broke into a condo on New Year's Day has been linked to two earlier robberies, and deputies are seeking the public's help in connecting him to even more crimes.

Robert Stavrakis, 23, was arrested on Jan. 1 on three counts of armed burglary, and one count each of attempted burglary and dealing in stolen property. Also arrested on the same charges was Beth Smith, 22, of Holiday.

Deputies said Stavrakis and Smith broke into homes in the Lansbrook subdivision on New Year's Day between midnight and 6 a.m. During that time, the suspects crashed several holiday parties in the area and sold or tried to sell stolen electronics, jewelry and handbags, Pinellas deputies said.

While in police custody, deputies say Stavrakis admitted to two other crimes in the Pine Ridge Condominiums of Highland Lakes.

The first one occurred at 5 a.m. on Dec. 13. In that case, the victim, a 65-year-old man, said he was awakened by a pounding at his door and Stavrakis, holding a copy of the St. Petersburg Times in his arms, told him his subscription payment was due.

The victim told Stavrakis he'd make a payment later that day. Stavrakis asked for a glass of water, and when the victim went to get it, Stavrakis slipped inside. Armed with a knife, he ordered the victim on his knees, but the resident instead pushed the suspect out of his condo, locked the front door and called 911. Nothing was taken that day.

In that case, deputies charged Stavrakis with armed residential burglary and aggravated assault on a person 65 years of age or older.

Later that morning, deputies responded to another burglary at the same condos. In that case, a resident said several items were missing from his home. Deputies said they found those items in Stavrakis' home. He was charged with burglary.

Stavrakis, who was also charged with tampering with physical evidence, obstruction by a disguised person and possession of marijuana, was being held at the Pinellas County Jail Tuesday night on $561,900 bail.

Deputies believe more burglaries occurred in the Pine Ridge community around the same time, and are asking anyone with information to contact sheriff's Det. Amy White of the Burglary and Pawn Unit at (727)582-6200. To remain anonymous call Crime Stoppers at 800-873-TIPS.

Suspect in New Year's burglaries linked to more crimes, deputies say 01/04/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 4, 2011 7:41pm]
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