02/12/16 Public Safety
Sheila Langlais had a rocky start in police work. Within five years of becoming an officer, she had resigned from two agencies following internal affairs investigations.
Two years ago, Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri decided to give her another chance in law enforcement.
But Langlais, 46, ended her career Monday when she resigned from the Sheriff's Office amid a Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office investigation. She is accused of brandishing a gun during a road rage incident. When questioned by deputies, Langlais initially denied being armed that day....
St. Petersburg police: Man robs taxi driver, leaves wallet in the back seat
A 22-year-old man accused of robbing a taxi driver at gunpoint left behind some valuable clues for police, according to an arrest report.
D'Andre Foster of St. Petersburg hired the taxi driver Jan. 1 and ordered him to stop at the intersection of Ninth Avenue N and 35th Street. He asked for change. As the driver pulled cash from his pocket, Foster pointed a hand gun at him and demanded money, a report says. They struggled for the gun, but Foster ran off....
Dylan Tompkins-Holmes was drunk, interrupting an investigation and cursing at deputies.
But he did not deserve to get shot twice by a deputy, Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said Friday.
After a monthlong investigation that involved sheriff's detectives and the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office, Deputy Timothy Virden was arrested on a charge of attempted manslaughter.
Virden, who was also fired from the Sheriff's Office, turned himself in at the Pinellas County Jail on Friday morning....
ST. PETERSBURG — On five occasions, Daniel Vaughan broke into Northside Christian School in October and November, according to arrest reports.
Three times, Vaughan, 20, of Seminole plugged in the power of the fuel pumps and stole more than 100 gallons from the school at 7777 62nd Ave N.
On Oct. 10, he hopped onto a golf cart on school campus and drove it recklessly, and then stole hand towels from a maintenance building, a report states....
LARGO — Days after the Supreme Court struck down the way Florida sentences people to die, a Pinellas County circuit judge has ruled that the death penalty cannot be pursued in a first-degree murder case scheduled for trial next month.
In an order filed Friday, judge Michael Andrews rejected prosecutors' notice that they intend to seek the death penalty in the case of a Pinellas Park father, Steven Dykes, accused of fatally shaking and striking his 3-month-old daughter in February of last year....
Woman accused of dialing 911 during traffic stop 'to create an alarm'
A Pinellas deputy stopped Angela Borden on Jan. 8 because she was driving without a tag and a broken brake light.
At some point, Borden called 911 "to create an alarm that she was being stopped by a person impersonating a law enforcement officer," an arrest report reads.
Borden told a dispatcher she had no way of knowing that the person who stopped her was in fact a sworn deputy, even though he was driving a fully marked patrol car with lights and wearing a Sheriff's Office-issued uniform. She also provided the deputy with an ID card containing another name....
Anderson Combs stood with several other Greek Orthodox boys in a dinghy, their eyes on the white cross about to be hurled into Spring Bayou.
The teen who retrieves the cross is said to receive a year of blessings. In preparation for the dive, the boys pray. Some strategize about which boat to jump from for the best chances of grabbing the cross.
But Combs had an edge on some of his fellow divers: He is a seasoned swimmer. He has been on the swim team for Hudson High, at one point finishing a 50-yard freestyle in less than 24 seconds. He is also a lifeguard and scuba diver....
Raul Diaz is a burglar.
After serving about half of a 26-month sentence, he was transferred in October to a work-release center in Tarpon Springs, a place where nonviolent inmates can complete their sentences and find a job.
Five days after his arrival, Diaz, 27, walked away from the facility and never returned.
During the four weeks he evaded police, deputies received a series of reports about mobile home burglaries up and down Pinellas County....
ST. PETERSBURG — Detectives arrested a 24-year-old man in connection with a fatal shooting inside the courtyard of an apartment complex Dec. 6, police said Thursday.
Bruce Sanders of St. Petersburg faces a charge of second-degree murder. He is accused of killing Aaron Anthony Davis, 25, who is among seven young men killed in recent weeks in a rash of shootings across St. Petersburg....
A 31-year-old man is accused of stealing $970 worth of lottery scratch-off tickets while working at a gas station, an arrest report says.
Charles Fields of St. Petersburg was employed at the 7-Eleven at 1271 Pasadena Ave. S when he stole the tickets, according to the report.
Video surveillance at a Speedway gas station on 66th Street N showed Fields redeeming $215 in lottery winnings....
12/21/15 Public Safety
TARPON SPRINGS — Dozens of people gathered for a vigil Monday night in honor of Charles Kondek, the Tarpon Springs police officer killed last Dec. 21 while working the midnight shift.
Addressing residents from the community and officers from around Tampa Bay, Tarpon Springs police Sgt. Michael Trill said Kondek should not be defined by his death.
"Remember Charlie for who he was," he said. "Not just his death, but how he lived."...
Police: Man cuts hole in roof of two pharmacies, steals hundreds of pills
A 25-year-old man was arrested last week on charges that he broke into the roofs of two pharmacies and stole hundreds of pills, according to arrest reports.
On Dec. 2, Jamie Conder cut a hole into the roof of the G & H Pharmacy at 8091 66th St. N. Once inside, he stole several kinds of drugs, including oxycodone, morphine and methadone, a report states....
12/12/15 Public Safety
CLEARWATER — The cars lined up 30 minutes before the gun buyback event was scheduled to begin Saturday morning.
Officers collected handguns and rifles, some of them old and rusted and others in good working condition. They also accepted BB or pellet guns, homemade guns constructed of wood and duct tape, and even a potato gun.
Within five hours, Clearwater police had collected 458 guns, more than double the number of weapons turned in during the agency's last buyback event in 2011....
12/11/15 Public Safety
CLEARWATER — Citing recurring costs and a lack of complaints about excessive use of force, the Clearwater Police Department has decided not to outfit its 170 patrol officers with body cameras.
The move is more evidence of a divide among Tampa Bay area law enforcement agencies over the technology's benefits.
Some embrace it: Gulfport police officers have been equipped with the cameras for five years, Pasco deputies started using them this year, and Tampa police are testing out 60 cameras. Other departments are not convinced. The sheriff's offices in Pinellas and Hillsborough do not use them....
12/10/15 Local Government
Florida Hospital North Pinellas is planning to open an off-site 24-bed emergency room in Palm Harbor, as well as renovate its current emergency department in Tarpon Springs.
"It is absolutely critical to the future growth of this hospital," said CEO Bruce Bergherm during a recent meeting with Tarpon Springs city commissioners. "This is important that the hospital continue to expand its reach so that it can compete in a very challenging marketplace. It provides greater access to quality health care."...