LARGO — Keith Montgomery had just settled into his bedroom after a morning walk Sunday. He put on his headphones and turned on the radio.
He thought he heard something, but four others live in the transitional housing property, so he thought nothing of it.
Within seconds, two Largo police officers barged into his room and pointed guns and a Taser at him, he said.
"I'm like freaking out by this time," Montgomery, 46, said. "I can't believe this is happening."...
TARPON SPRINGS — Investigators believe the vehicle found submerged in a retention pond off U.S. 19 following a fatal traffic crash that downed power lines was racing with another car early Saturday, police said Tuesday.
Police also disclosed the names of the two men killed in the crash: Nicholas Ray Osborn, 37, and Marco S. Valez, 39, of Clearwater.
According to police, about 3 a.m. on Saturday an officer heard a loud "boom" and rushed to the area of U.S. 19 and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. The officer found power lines scattered on the road....
Antonio Tarver, who has made millions in the ring as a championship-level professional boxer, was arrested in Clearwater on Saturday night on a warrant from Nevada accusing him of passing a worthless check, according to an arrest report.
Tarver, 45, a native of Orlando who lives in Lutz, was arrested by a Florida Highway Patrol trooper on U.S. 19 and Sunset Point Road about 10:30 p.m. on a Clark County warrant related to passing a check with insufficient funds, according to the affidavit. Details of the charge were not available Sunday. ...
CLEARWATER — The custody of a 7-year-old girl remains uncertain five days after her father was accused of brutally killing her grandmother at their Clearwater home.
The girl's mother, Tracey Lohoski, 43, said Friday she is fighting for custody of her daughter. She traveled to Florida from her home in Maryland this week and said she plans to stay in Florida until she is reunited with the girl....
LARGO — Patricia Canon King invited her killer home, authorities said.
She met William S. Coffin III, whom police say is a transient, as he ambled through her Largo neighborhood west of Clearwater-Largo Road N earlier this month.
King, 50, invited him into her house.
Within hours, Coffin stabbed King to death inside her home at 1008 10th Ave. NW, Largo police said. Officers discovered her body about 3 a.m. on Feb. 6....
CLEARWATER — For the past four years, Deborah Lohoski, 59, had cared for her young granddaughter and tried to help her troubled son as he struggled with alcohol addiction.
But her efforts ended violently Monday afternoon, when Matthew Lohoski, 33, killed his mother in the family's back yard at 1709 El Trinidad Drive E off State Road 590, east of U.S. 19, authorities said.
Clearwater police did not release a motive Tuesday, but gave this account of Deborah Lohoski's slaying:...
TARPON SPRINGS — Dena Tingling arrived at the fourth-floor courtroom Dec. 16 for what she thought would be a hearing related to the first-degree murder trial of a man accused of fatally stabbing her elderly father, Eddie Dixon, more than a year ago.
Instead, she watched Richard Brockington, 46, plead guilty to manslaughter. He was sentenced to 15 years in state prison.
For Tingling, 46, and her family, Brockington's sentence raises questions about the Tarpon Springs Police Department's investigation into Dixon's death....
TARPON SPRINGS — A licensed mental health counselor arrested Wednesday is accused of having sex with one patient and stealing money from another, police said.
Richard Walter Fedora, 65, faces charges of grand theft and sexual misconduct by a psychotherapist.
According to arrest affidavits, Fedora "developed a sexual relationship" late last year with a woman receiving behavioral counseling at the St. Pete Behavioral Health Center in Tarpon Springs. During that time, they sent more than 100 emails to each other, Tarpon Springs police said....
02/09/14 Public Safety
LARGO — The "We're Hiring" sign has lingered on the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office website for months.
Then, in October, agency employees received the first wage increase they've had since 2008. That same month, the Sheriff's Office announced it is offering $3,000 bonuses to experienced candidates who apply for patrol positions and are hired.
The raise and bonus were part of the agency's plan to cope with upcoming retirements, retain seasoned personnel and lure experienced officers to balance out the large number of new hires in the agency, Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said....
CLEARWATER — When Janet Staschak didn't show up at work two days in a row at the Kash n' Karry grocery store where she decorated cakes, her friends grew concerned.
They called the manager at York Apartments, the complex at 903 S Greenwood Ave. where 25-year-old Staschak lived. He called police. When officers arrived at Staschak's home that November day in 1986, they found her body on her bed....
LARGO — A massage therapist accused of inappropriately touching a client last year faces an additional sexual battery charge, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office said.
Ronald Bruinius, 36, is now accused of fondling a 28-year-old woman last February. The woman had purchased a "Groupon" online deal for Bruinius' massage business, Ronnie's Body Work Massage, near Largo. During a session, he inappropriately touched her, the Sheriff's Office said. In December, deputies arrested Bruinius on a sexual battery charge when a 53-year-old woman who also purchased a "Groupon" for massage sessions with Bruinius told authorities he had fondled her, the Sheriff's Office said....
CLEARWATER — Salvatore Plateroti remembers a time when men would pull into the parking spaces outside his business on Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard.
But they weren't there to shop at his Italian gourmet shop. Instead, Plateroti watched as prostitutes approached the cars and sat inside, the drivers then pulling away onto one of Clearwater's main thoroughfares.
"This was a pretty hot area" for prostitution, Plateroti recalled....
More than 300 suspects were arrested during a two-day warrant roundup by Pinellas and Pasco authorities this week.
They included a man selling hundreds of packets of synthetic drugs inside his Odessa home, another man wanted for violating his parole on a sex conviction and a woman who hid from officers under a heap of clothes in a Clearwater apartment.
"We knocked on a lot of doors and they were very surprised to see us," said Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco during a press conference Friday....
01/31/14 Public Safety
LARGO — Police are investigating the death of an infant who had been staying at an unlicensed home child care center, authorities said.
Largo police received a call about 5 p.m. Wednesday from 1162 Fay Ave. in Largo. When officers arrived, the 3-month-old boy had already been taken to a local hospital, where he died the same day, said Largo police Lt. Paul Amodeo.
Detectives have not found any evidence of foul play, he said....
Some are husbands or fathers. One is in college studying to be an elementary school teacher. Another, a maintenance worker at Countryside Mall, was employed by a private contractor.
Their mug shots were displayed publicly Monday as authorities released the results of a four-day child predator investigation called "Operation Home Alone." It targeted people police say lurk online, seeking sex with minors....