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Lisa Gartner, Times Staff Writer

Lisa Gartner

Lisa Gartner is a writer on the enterprise team at the Tampa Bay Times.

In 2016, she and Times reporters Cara Fitzpatrick and Michael LaForgia won the Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting for "Failure Factories," a series chronicling how a local school system turned five once-decent neighborhood schools into the worst in the state for black children. The series also won the Polk Award for Education Reporting, the Worth Bingham Prize for Investigative Journalism and the Investigative Reporters and Editors Medal, among other honors.

Gartner joined the Times in 2013. She grew up in Wellington, Fla., and attended Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. After graduating in 2010, she joined The Washington Examiner to report on education in the D.C. metro area. At the Times, Gartner covered Pinellas County Schools and higher education before joining the enterprise team in 2016.

She lives in St. Petersburg, and is always looking for a good story to tell.

Phone: (727) 893-8707


Twitter: @LisaGartner

  1. Wrong Way: At 15, he was the county's No. 1 car thief. He had every reason to stop.


    Isaiah Battle believes in heaven. When he pictures it, everything is gold, everyone sitting on couches among clouds. He is not sure if people in heaven have to share rooms. But if they do, he hopes he can share one with his sister, Dominique.

    They shared one on earth, in St. Petersburg, back before she drowned in a stolen car in a cemetery pond. Two beds where they'd lie side by side and joke about their boyfriends, girlfriends, school. Smoke weed and watch whatever was on TV. Tell each other I love you before lights out each night....

    Isaiah Battle stole eight cars by the time he was 16. Then his sister died in a stolen car. Read our special report, 'Wrong Way.' [DIRK SHADD | Times]
  2. Boy who died in stolen car did wrong, but was still a boy, mom says

    Public Safety

    She closes her eyes and sees them clearly, the first moments of Jimmie Goshey's life.

    Shalanda Marshall had gone to the hospital early, throwing up, the baby pushing hard. But the doctors said he was hours away, so she sent her daughters home to get things ready for Jimmie.

    Then, all of a sudden he was coming, fast. "You better get back here or you're going to miss it," she told her daughters, but by the time they got up the elevator and to the door, Jimmie was born....

    Photo of Jimmie Goshey, 14, from a Facebook page. He was one of three teens killed when the stolen SUV they were in crashed violently in Palm Harbor early Sunday morning. [Facebook].
  3. Teens in stolen car crash had 126 arrests; murder charges possible (w/video)


    The last thing Keondrae Brown remembers before he blacked out is lying in shattered glass on Tampa Road, next to the burning wreckage of a stolen car, lucky to be alive after a high-speed crash that killed his brother and two of his friends.

    TIMELINE:Three boys died in a stolen vehicle: Here's how it unfolded (w/video)...

    Deyon Kaigler, 16, appears in court Monday morning following his arrest in what authorities called a "cat and mouse" game with stolen cars that ended in a fatal crash. Three boys died and one was injured when a stolen SUV spun  out of control. Deyon was accused of driving the second vehicle. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]
  4. Sheriff releases video showing teens reaching 140 mph before fatal Palm Harbor SUV crash


    Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri held a news conference Monday afternoon in which he showed dash-cam footage from the first officer to respond to the Palm Harbor crash. Here is some of what he said in the news conference:

    TIMELINE:Three boys died in a stolen vehicle: Here's how it unfolded (w/video)...

    Kamal Campbell (in center), 18, appears by video conference in front of Judge John Carballo during his first appearance at the Pinellas County Justice Center on Aug. 7, 2017. Deputies found the Chrysler Sebring at Sunset Point and Keene roads in Clearwater. Kamal Campbell, 18, and Deyon Kaigler were taken into custody and face charges of grand theft auto and resisting arrest without violence. [DIRK SHADD | Times]
  5. Victim recalls horrific crash that killed three in stolen car

    Public Safety

    CLEARWATER — Ricky Melendez pulled himself out of bed when his alarm went off at 4 a.m. It was time to start a day that would nearly end his life.

    He let his 4-month-old Lab puppy, Mila, out of her crate as he brushed his teeth and got dressed for work. The 29-year-old was a bit tired, having spent the previous day at a water park in Orlando with his cousin and his brother. But he was excited to get to his new job at Sprouts Farmers Market in Palm Harbor, where he was the dairy manager. He was trying to get the nickname "The Milkman" to catch on....

    Clearwater resident Ricky Melendez recalls the accident early Sunday where four teens driving a stolen SUV slammed into his car. JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times

  6. Three boys dead after fiery crash in stolen SUV, Pinellas sheriff says


    Deyon Kaigler said in December that he was done stealing cars. His friends were still posting videos of high-speed joyrides to Facebook, wearing key fobs on lanyards around their necks. But Deyon, 16, had decided it was too dangerous.

    "I value my life," he said. "I'm not trying to be dead."

    TIMELINE:Three boys died in a stolen vehicle: Here's how it unfolded (w/video)...

    An unidentified woman wipes her face after speaking with a Pinellas County Sheriff's deputy at the scene of a fatal vehicle crash Sunday, Aug. 6, 2017 in Palm Harbor. Three boys died in the high-speed crash which occurred along Tampa Road in Palm Harbor. Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said the boys had "extremely extensive criminal histories," including serial car thefts like those chronicled in a series of stories recently by the Tampa Bay Times.
  7. The kids: Six teens involved in stolen car crash have troubled histories

    Public Safety

    All six teen boys involved in the stolen car crash that killed three of them on Sunday morning had extensive criminal histories, according to state records.

    The four boys in a stolen Ford Explorer that crashed were playing a "cat and mouse" game with two other boys in a stolen Chrysler Sebring, authorities said.

    They all attended high schools in Clearwater or Dunedin, a schools spokeswoman said. ...

    A wrecked SUV is seen as emergency personnel work to clear the scene of fatal vehicle crash Sunday, Aug. 6, 2017 in Palm Harbor. Three boys died in the high-speed crash which occurred along Tampa Road in Palm Harbor. Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said the boys had "extremely extensive criminal histories," including serial car thefts like those chronicled in a series of stories recently by the Tampa Bay Times.
  8. 5 ways officials are trying to stop Pinellas' teenage car thieves


    In the last week of June, bleeding into the first days of July, 20 cars went missing in the city of St. Petersburg. Nearly all were left unlocked, with keys inside — some still jammed in the ignition — the prime targets of juvenile auto thieves.

    Police say it's a reminder of the countywide problem documented by the Tampa Bay Times this spring in "Hot Wheels." The series showed that kids in Pinellas crashed stolen cars once every four days in an 18-month period and were arrested more often for stealing cars than anywhere else in Florida....

     U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, left, takes notes as St. Petersburg Police Chief Anthony Holloway, right, talks about car thefts in St. Petersburg during a meeting earlier this month.
  9. Hillsborough commissioners request report on juvenile car theft from sheriff


    Hillsborough commissioners, distressed by a Tampa Bay Times report about the juvenile auto theft epidemic in neighboring Pinellas County, ordered the sheriff to provide a rundown of the crime in the Tampa area on Wednesday.

    Commissioner Sandy Murman asked the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office to draw up a report on kids stealing cars and potential solutions. She said deputies have seen some teens come from Pinellas to Hillsborough in stolen cars or to break into cars....

    The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office’s “Eagle” helicopter unit tracks a car from the air with its infrared camera.
  10. U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist on juvenile auto theft: "People are dying because of what's happening here."

    Public Safety

    ST. PETERSBURG — Local leaders said Monday evening that juveniles stealing cars is the number-one public safety threat in Pinellas County and needs to be addressed immediately.

    At a meeting convened by U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, D-St. Petersburg, city and county officials pointed to the Tampa Bay Times' "Hot Wheels" series, which they said drew attention to the dangerous epidemic and brought the problem to the forefront....

    From left: St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, Congressman Charlie Crist, Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri and St. Petersburg Police Chief Anthony Holloway during a meeting Monday evening with community leaders to discuss the ongoing car theft epidemic among Pinellas youth and how law enforcement, elected officials, and community organizations can work together to put an end to this dangerous trend. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]
  11. Officials plan to take action after Times series about juvenile car theft in Pinellas County


    U.S. Congressman Charlie Crist is planning to bring community leaders together to discuss the dangerous car theft epidemic perpetrated by juveniles across Pinellas County.

    The mayors of St. Petersburg and Clearwater said they would like to be involved and emphasized the need for action.

    Crist said that Pinellas needs to find "a better path forward, to put an end to this madness" after reading "Hot Wheels," a two-part Tampa Bay Times series that documented the dangerous crashes and gunplay that threaten the region when juveniles as young as 10 steal cars left unlocked....

    Tyron McKinnon, 13, looks up toward Judge Sherwood Coleman while pleading guilty to grand theft auto. Known as T-Man, McKinnon was first arrested on a grand theft auto charge four days before his 11th birthday. DIRK SHADD   |   Times
  12. When the car comes back, but the thief keeps the key


    It's bad luck to have your car stolen once. But a handful of drivers across Tampa Bay have been repeat victims. Their cars were recovered, but not the keys. So young thieves came back for another joyride.

    One St. Petersburg woman had just gotten her car back when it was taken again two days later, still coated in black fingerprint powder.

    When police recovered a car stolen from a hospice patient, the 15-year-old suspect laughed and said, "There's about six more (spare keys) out in the streets." ...

    Lakesha Johnson's car was stolen twice by teenagers. The first time, she said, they got her key from her unlocked car while she slept after a chemotherapy treatment.

 [Courtesy of Lakesha Johnson ]
  13. A St. Pete street, a teen car thief, and the most unlikely victim


    Coming back late from a weekend away at a wedding, Robert Vincent and his wife wanted to go to sleep. They unloaded the car in the driveway of their home in St. Petersburg's Fossil Park neighborhood. Call it haste, or exhaustion, but either Vincent or his wife forgot to lock the Subaru Outback.

    In the middle of that November night in 2015, while Vincent and his wife were sleeping off their trip, teenagers found keys in the center console....

    Gulfport Police Chief Robert Vincent's unmarked cruiser was stolen from his driveway along with police gear and keys to every door in the Gulfport police station. [DIRK SHADD  |  Times]

  14. How state leaders are trying to fix the juvenile car theft problem in Pinellas

    Public Safety

    How can a system allow dozens of kids to be arrested twice for felony grand theft auto, and still go on to steal another car?

    Florida's juvenile justice system has undergone drastic reform in the last decade, shifting from locking up kids to giving them counseling, curfews and community service. Many young car thieves are sent home from court, told to follow the rules and stay out of trouble....

     "We recognize that the kids have changed, times have changed," says Florida Department of Juvenile Justice Secretary 
Christina Daly. [DIRK SHADD  |  Times]
  15. This is the easiest way to have your car stolen

    Public Safety

    Delivery drivers, don't leave your cars running when you make a stop.

    A teen in Clearwater stole a Chevy Impala driven by a Domino's Pizza delivery driver, then ditched the light-up sign and her purse in a trash bin.

    One boy ordered Chinese food, then hopped in the delivery driver's Toyota Corolla when the man walked to the door.

    "I used to get people like that," said Luis Herring Jr., 16, now in prison for carjacking. He would order food to a random address, from a phone number obtained on a computer app....

    Bob Scheuerer, left, a Meals on Wheels volunteer, greets a recipient during his delivery in Gulfport and St. Petersburg. Scheurer's car wasstolen when he left it running while dropping off meals. [DIRK SHADD  |  Times]