Sunday, January 21, 2018
News Roundup

Church secretary charged with stealing more than $30,000

ST. PETERSBURG — The former assistant to the pastor of one of the city's most prestigious churches has been arrested and charged with grand theft.

Patricia Lynn Adams, 61, is accused of stealing $37,265.74 from First United Methodist Church, 212 Third St. N. According to the arrest affidavit, the theft occurred between 2008 and 2011.

Church leaders broke the news to the congregation early last year in a statement read by the head of the church council.

"He informed them of some sad news, that our pastor's secretary resigned and there were some improprieties and we were unable to account for some of the money that has gone through her hands," said Mark Williams, head of the staff parish relations committee.

According to the arrest affidavit, Adams used the church's credit card to make online and in-store purchases. She also used First United Methodist's Publix account for personal items.

The church hired a forensic accountant after the initial discrepancies were discovered.

"As we dug deeper and deeper, it added up and she was upfront about it and admitted that she had made a mistake," Williams said.

Adams, who had worked for the Rev. David Miller, was "a wonderful person, very loved" by the congregation.

The pastor "was probably more disappointed than anybody. At first, among all of us, there was a level of disbelief," Williams said.

According to Florida Department of Corrections records, Adams, whose address is 5090 Bay St. NE, has had a previous encounter with the law. In 2007, she was ordered to serve 11 years of probation on a grand theft conviction. She now faces two charges, grand theft and violation of probation.

First United Methodist, which has more than 40 employees, conducts background checks for prospective staff, Williams said.

"We did on her and we knew exactly who we were getting," he said. "Sometimes people make mistakes in life and you take a chance."

Williams said the church has since implemented a more stringent audit program and increased financial controls.

First United Methodist is where former Gov. Charles Crist was married. Through the years, the growing congregation of about 1,700 members has solidified its presence downtown, acquiring almost the entire city block on which its sanctuary stands.

Times researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this article. Waveney Ann Moore can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 892-2283.

Comments
The St. Petersburg Women’s March: Here’s what you need to know

The St. Petersburg Women’s March: Here’s what you need to know

ST. PETERSBURG — On Sunday afternoon, people will take part in the Women’s March, part of a series of marches taking place this weekend. Here’s what you need to know:When is the Women’s March?The march begins at noon on Sunday, Jan. 21, and a rally w...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Deputies: 18-year-old speeding on U.S. 19 rear-ended car, faces charges of DUI, fleeing scene

PALM HARBOR — A speeding teenager on U.S. 19 refused to stop for deputies and took off, later rear-ending a car and injuring three adults early Sunday morning, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.A little after 1:30 a.m., Kingzig Montan...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Forecast: Sunny, high of 78 in Tampa Bay

Forecast: Sunny, high of 78 in Tampa Bay

ST. PETERSBURG — Temperatures should reach the upper 70s on a warm, sunny, mild Sunday, kicking off a mild week in Tampa Bay, forecasters predict. 10News WTSPThe latest Tampa Bay-area radar 10News WTSPFeels...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Woman dies after falling ‘several decks’ from a balcony on a Carnival cruise

Woman dies after falling ‘several decks’ from a balcony on a Carnival cruise

A woman sailing on a Carnival Cruise Line ship from Jacksonville fell from her cabin’s balcony and died Friday.Doral-based Carnival Cruise Line spokesman Vance Gulliksen confirmed the death Saturday, saying in a statement that the incident occurred e...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Record number of inmates died in Florida prisons last year. And they died younger than past years.

Record number of inmates died in Florida prisons last year. And they died younger than past years.

More inmates died in Florida prisons last year than in any other year on record, leaving the state scrambling to identify causes and find solutions. The tally, 428 inmate deaths in 2017, was released late Friday by the Florida Department of Correctio...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Editorial: Beware of social media targeting kids

Editorial: Beware of social media targeting kids

Ignoring all available evidence that screen time and social media exposure can be harmful to kids, Facebook recently unveiled a new messaging app targeting children under 13. It’s yet another battlefront for parents who have to constantly combat the ...
Published: 01/21/18

Leonard Pitts Jr.: One year later.

And here we are, one year later.If you are groping for markers by which to measure how profoundly we have been changed since Inauguration Day, here’s one you might want to consider:In January of 1998, reports surfaced of a sexual affair between Presi...
Published: 01/21/18
Lightning falls to Wild, its fifth loss in seven games

Lightning falls to Wild, its fifth loss in seven games

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Lightning said all the right things about needing to look in the mirror and do some soul-searching during its recent funk. Veterans said they had to lead the way. Coach Jon Cooper believed this eight-game trip would "show us wha...
Published: 01/20/18
Updated: 01/21/18
Florida wins big SEC showdown with Kentucky

Florida wins big SEC showdown with Kentucky

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Jalen Hudson came off the bench to score 17, and Chris Chiozza, Keith Stone and Kevarrius Hayes contributed clutch baskets down the stretch as Florida rallied to upset No. 18 Kentucky 66-64 Saturday night. "We were able to win it jus...
Published: 01/20/18
Shrine Game journal: USF players’ thoughts are with grieving QB Quinton Flowers

Shrine Game journal: USF players’ thoughts are with grieving QB Quinton Flowers

ST. PETERSBURG — USF had expected to have four former players in Saturday’s East-West Shrine Game at Tropicana Field, but QB Quinton Flowers had to miss the showcase game after learning that his grandmother had died late last week."I most definitely ...
Published: 01/20/18