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Tampa doctor accused of damaging medical centers

CLEARWATER — A local anesthesiologist has been arrested, accused of threatening former co-workers at Morton Plant Hospital and breaking windows at medical centers in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties.

Dr. Benjamin Sanchez, 46, showed up at the anesthesiology building at Morton Plant on Wednesday and threatened the employees, according to Clearwater police spokeswoman Elizabeth Watts. She said his presence at the hospital violated an injunction.

Sanchez left before police arrived, but he showed up Thursday and used a pipe to break some windows at the hospital, Watts said. Again, Sanchez left before police arrived.

That same day across the bay, Sanchez was spotted by surveillance cameras using a metal pipe to break a window at 14547 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., the address listed for the Florida Medical Clinic, according to deputies.

On Friday afternoon, the Hillsborough Sheriff's Office went to Sanchez's home on Broadoak Drive in Tampa to arrest him.

When Sanchez saw the deputy pull up, he ran inside the house and refused to come out, according to the Hillsborough arrest report. Three deputies had to force their way into the house to make the arrest.

Sanchez remains at the Orient Road Jail in Hillsborough County. His occupation is listed as "unemployed."

He faces two counts of criminal mischief, one count of aggravated stalking and one count of resisting arrest without violence. He was being held without bail.

Court records suggest that Sanchez has disagreed with his co-workers before.

In 2005, Sanchez sued a colleague, Dr. Winton Burns, for slander, accusing Burns of writing an e-mail that said Sanchez was a risk to become violent.

The suit says Sanchez was fired from Anesthesia Associates of Pinellas County in September 2005 because of the accusations.

Anna Allen of Morton Plant Mease said the hospital has enhanced its security since the incident. She said Morton Plant contracts with Anesthesia Associates of Pinellas County, so Sanchez was not technically an employee of the hospital.

Because of an ongoing investigation, Allen said she could not give more information about the incident.

Times researcher Shirl Kennedy contributed to this report. Jonathan Abel can be reached at jabel@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4157.

Tampa doctor accused of damaging medical centers 02/02/09 [Last modified: Monday, February 2, 2009 10:50pm]

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