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Suspicious pipe in garage found to be harmless

A downtown parking garage was closed for four hours Friday after a motorist found a suspicious-looking pipe inside. A bomb squad from Hillsborough County determined nothing was inside the pipe. The pipe, which had caps on its ends, was found about 10 a.m. in the parking garage at East and Garden avenues. Police closed the garage, as well as Pierce and Park streets, as the bomb squad used a robot to break open the pipe, said Clearwater police spokesman Wayne Shelor. Police determined someone had fashioned the pipe to be used as a tool. The garage was reopened about 2 p.m.

Council to review choice for new Zephyrhills police chief

ZEPHYRHILLS _ A Clearwater Police captain who sought the chief's job here has lost out to a criminal investigator for the Public Defender's Office in west Pasco. City Manager Steve Spina chose Russell Barnes over Capt. Robert Jones of the Clearwater department, the other finalist out of 67 applicants. The City Council must approve the hiring and will vote at its next meeting Nov. 10. Spina said he chose Barnes, 51, because of his community-oriented approach to the job. "Looking over his background stuff, he was very much community-oriented, active in clubs, wrote a newspaper column," Spina said. "I thought that would be a good approach to working through our problems."

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