NEW PORT RICHEY
Deputies: Visitor beat man, swiped lighters
A 24-year-old man was arrested Wednesday on charges of attacking a disabled man in his home — all to steal the victim's cigarettes, Bic lighters and beer, authorities said.
The 51-year-old victim had invited Andrew Horner and another acquaintance into his home July 27. Once inside, Horner began kicking the victim in the ribs while the other man restrained him in a choke hold, according to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office. Horner searched the house looking for a handgun, but came up with only a handful of lighters and cigarettes, the report said.
The victim eventually managed to escape with his gun and ran out into the road to call for help.
Horner, of 10928 Malati St. in New Port Richey, has been charged with home invasion robbery and resisting arrest without violence. He was also arrested on warrants from Pasco and Texas. He is being held at Land O'Lakes jail without bail.
Authorities have not yet charged the second man involved in the attack.
NEW PORT RICHEY
Man accused of fraud, trying to bribe victims
A 44-year-old man is accused of defrauding investors in his business — and then trying to use bribes to keep them quiet.
Michael Motola has been under investigation for offering to invest acquaintances' money, then not using the investment funds as intended, Pasco sheriff's spokesman Doug Tobin said. He would casually solicit potential investors, meeting one at a soccer practice, Tobin said.
The two victims in the fraud case now say Motola offered them thousands of dollars to drop charges and stop cooperating with investigators. He wanted to cut a deal with one victim for $22,300, according to a Sheriff's Office arrest report, and with another victim for $39,425, plus an extra $500 if he signed the agreement on the spot.
Motola, of 9727 Hermosillo Drive in New Port Richey, was charged with two counts of tampering with a witness or victim. He's also facing charges of issuing a worthless check. He has been released from the Land O'Lakes jail on $10,000 bail.
Home invasion victim beaten with ball bat
Carl Register came through the window of a home wielding a baseball bat at 4:30 a.m. Thursday, according to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office. He struck the person who lived there several times in the head, then fled out the door, authorities said.
The victim sustained cuts and bruises to his head.
A deputy later spotted Register, 27, of 15221 Davis Loop, walking north along U.S. 301. Register had three cuts, but said he had cut himself on a barbed wire fence, not broken window glass, according to the report.
Register was charged with burglary with battery. He was being held at Land O'Lakes jail in lieu of $150,000 bail.
Accused burglar sends victim text apologies
Sonora Merced sent a text message saying she regretted stealing her friend's jewelry, authorities said. She hadn't meant to do it. She was willing to give it back — anything to keep her friend.
But her friend reported her to authorities anyway.
The episode is documented in a series of increasingly frantic text messages from Merced, 23, according to a Pasco County Sheriff's Office report.
"Yea i STOLED UR (stuff) AND B---- THEY AINT NOTHING U CAN DO BOUT IT," said the first one, sent after Merced entered the victim's house June 14 and removed $840 worth of jewelry, according to the report.
"I wuz f---ed up that night i didnt mean all that," the next text message said. Her friend had seen Merced's boyfriend wearing one of the missing rings, the report said.
Finally, the report said, Merced texted: "I'm srry ... ill bring ur s--- back 2 morrow i just dont (want) 2 lose a good friend u were good to me."
Merced, of 4043 Scarlett Maple Drive in Holiday, was arrested Thursday and charged with burglary of an unoccupied residence. She was being held at Land O'Lakes jail in lieu of $10,000 bail.