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BANK ROBBERIES ARE CONNECTED, POLICE BELIEVE

PALM HARBOR, CLEARWATER

Authorities now believe that a robbery Monday morning at a Bank of America branch in Palm Harbor is connected to a robbery at a SunTrust Bank branch in Clearwater last month. The Palm Harbor robbery took place at 10:49 a.m. at 4000 Lake St. George Drive. The Clearwater robbery took place Sept. 24 at 2150 Cleveland St. Authorities from the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office and the Clearwater Police Department are cooperating in the investigation; they released surveillance photos of the robber and his vehicle. The car is thought to be a 1998 or 1999 dark green Mazda 626, missing its right front hubcap. The inside of the car is thought to be stained red from an exploding dye pack. Anyone with information may contact Detective Nicholas Bedy of the Sheriff's Office Robbery/Homicide unit at (727) 582-6200 or call Crime Stoppers at (800) 873-TIPS.

BELLEAIR

Biltmore sustains no damage in fire

Belleair Bluffs Fire Rescue responded to an early morning fire Tuesday at the Belleview Biltmore hotel. Fire Chief Patrick Competelli said the building that caught fire was a round gazebo bar by the pool, roughly 200 to 300 feet from the hotel. The blaze was reported to the fire department at 3:56 a.m. At no point did it endanger the historic hotel, Competelli said. The cause of the fire is being investigated. Competelli said the gazebo suffered $20,000 to $25,000 of damage. Alcohol bottles at the bar were destroyed as were a television set, a few appliances and the bar itself. Nobody was injured.

TARPON SPRINGS

Employee at city golf course jailed

A city golf course worker was arrested Tuesday on charges that he stole nearly $1,500 over the last two months. An internal audit revealed the money was missing from payments collected by Todd William Crothers, 35, from customers at the golf course, according to Tarpon Springs Police. Crothers, a St. Petersburg resident who has worked at the golf course for less than a year, is being held at the Pinellas County Jail in lieu of $5,000 bail. The city has expanded the audit was done to make sure no more money is missing.

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