Sheriff's Office: Car burglar left his phone behind in vehicle
Jacob Leonard embarked on a car burglary spree May 10, according to arrest reports.
He pilfered an iPod Touch from a Ford Explorer, headphones and a gym bag from a GMC truck, and a Hillsborough sheriff's-issued belt containing a Taser, radio and handcuffs from a deputy recruit's Dodge Grand Caravan in the residential streets of north unincorporated Clearwater, just south of Curlew Road along U.S. 19, reports state....
05/26/16 Public Safety
ST. PETERSBURG — Police officials said Thursday after a meeting with Walmart representatives that they were impressed with the retailer's commitment to reducing the high volume of law enforcement calls at its St. Petersburg stores.
"They clearly recognize there's an issue, and they don't deny that," said St. Petersburg Assistant Police Chief Jim Previtera. "This was not a defensive Walmart. This wasn't a justification conversation."...
The children of a 74-year-old doctor stabbed and shot dead two years ago inside his Tarpon Springs home are suing their stepmother, Rebecca Schwartz, claiming she conspired to kill him.
A year after Dr. Steven Patlin Schwartz was killed on May 28, 2014, Tarpon Springs police arrested his handyman, Anton Stragaj, 38, who is also named as a defendant in the lawsuit. He has been charged with first-degree murder....
05/25/16 Public Safety
Walmart has reached out to law enforcement in Tampa Bay to set up meetings and discuss the high number of calls officers take at its stores.
The conversations follow a Tampa Bay Times investigation about police service at Walmarts across the region. Representatives from the Arkansas-based company have reached out to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office and the Tampa and St. Petersburg police departments to schedule meetings....
Tampa council member Frank Reddick requested Thursday that police officials appear with a report at the next city council meeting on June 2 with information on how many calls the city’s Walmarts received in the past year.
He also wants to know the nature of the police calls, as well as how many arrests resulted from those incidents.
Reddick’s request comes days after a Tampa Bay Times investigation found that local Walmarts accounted for nearly 16,800 police calls in just one year. That's two calls an hour, every hour of every day....
05/18/16 Public Safety
Officials across Tampa Bay are calling on Walmart to meet with community leaders and to reduce the burden that the corporate giant places on local law enforcement.
"I believe that there's an issue here of an extraordinary expense being passed on to the taxpayer for what might be a responsibility of the business owner," Hillsborough County Commissioner Victor Crist said at a meeting Wednesday....
CLEARWATER — The family of Leon Dash, a security guard who was killed as he tried to break up a brawl outside a downtown Clearwater bar, finally heard the news they had been hoping to hear for nearly a decade.
Witnesses had come forward, Clearwater police Detective Michael Hasty told them Monday, and a 30-year-old man had been charged in connection with Dash's death. Preston Lloyd Bell of Clearwater faces a manslaughter charge....
Pinellas deputy resigns, Clearwater sergeant suspended following questionable traffic stop (w/video)05/16/16 Public Safety
Clearwater police Sgt. Jay Holsombach was on patrol the night of Jan. 23 when a silver Nissan with its headlights off sped down Drew Street at more than 60 mph.
As he pulled onto the road to stop the Nissan just after 1 a.m., the car continued east, this time speeding at 90 mph and running a red light at Belcher Road. Holsombach turned his emergency lights off when the car slowed down and pulled into the parking lot of St. Petersburg College's Clearwater Campus....
05/15/16 Public Safety
Police come to shoo away panhandlers, referee parking disputes and check on foul-mouthed teenagers.
They are called to arrest the man who drinks a 98-cent iced tea without paying and capture the customer who joyrides on a motorized shopping cart. The calls eat up hours of officers' time. They all start at one place:
05/02/16 Public Safety
The deaths of three teen girls killed inside a stolen car as it sank into the depths of a muddy pond March 31 hit close to home for Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch.
Last August, three of his cousins were killed in a wreck in DeSoto County when a pickup struck their car as they returned to St. Petersburg from a religious convention in Fort Pierce.
When the accusations against the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office escalated last week, with critics saying that deputies let the girls die and calling for an independent investigation, Welch decided to visit the pond Friday....
Two men arrested in connection to baby formula heist at East Lake Walmart
Two men are accused of taking more than 100 cans of baby formula from a Walmart neighborhood market in the last few weeks, according to arrest reports.
Surveillance video from the store at 3400 East Lake Road captured William Kelly, 65, and Purvis Sealy, 26, pushing carts containing the cans, worth $15.97 each, out to the parking lot. The thefts occurred in late March and throughout April....
A candidate in the Pinellas Sheriff’s race recently launched a Facebook page against current Sheriff Bob Gualtieri that displays a photoshopped image of Gualtieri as Adolf Hitler.
James McLynas, 57, of Indian Shores, wrote in the page that he is “running for Sheriff to protest Robert Gualtieri’s corruption.”...
A lot of questions have surfaced in recent weeks about the way Pinellas Sheriff’s deputies responded when a stolen car sank into a cemetery pond March 31, killing three teenage girls inside.
Critics have said that the deputies didn’t do enough to rescue the teens while Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri has maintained that the water conditions were not safe. A deputy wrote in a report related to the crash that they attempted a rescue, but noted there was “unstable ground” and “excessive water vegetation,” which made a rescue “too risky for those involved.”...
LARGO — One of the first words Aaron Davis' 2-year-old daughter, Audrey, learned to say was "dada." Now, she wonders why he isn't home.
A few days ago, she asked her mom, Ana Davis: "Are you on the phone with daddy?"
On Monday, Ana stared across a courtroom at Jason Lanard Mitchell, the man who struck and killed her husband, a popular chef, last April as Mitchell sped while drunk across downtown St. Petersburg. Three days after the crash, Ana gave birth to the couple's second child....
Dash cam video of stolen car crash that killed three girls raises questions on social media regarding Pinellas Sheriff's Office actions (w/video)04/22/16 Public Safety
A portion of a dash cam video from the March 31 crash that killed three teenage girls who were in a stolen car as it sank into a pond circulated on social media Friday, prompting questions about whether Pinellas Sheriff's deputies did enough to rescue them.
Earlier this week, the Sheriff's Office released its investigation report and several dash cam videos from the crash....