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Local/State News for week ending 5/9/2009

Sheriff: Woman Arrested for
Theft of $100,000 in Jewelry
Under Cover of House Maid;
More Victims Sought

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office wants to notify the public of the arrest of a theft suspect in a recent incident that occurred under the cover of a house cleaning service.

Lisa G. Payne

A sheriff's report said Lisa G. Payne, 45, of 4719 15th Avenue East, Palmetto, who advertised a housekeeping service in a local newspaper, has been arrested on charges of Grand Theft over $100,000, two counts of Defrauding a Pawn Broker and two counts of Dealing in Stolen Property.

She is accused of stealing jewelry from a Bradenton residence which she was hired to clean. The residence was in the 1800 block of 78th Street West.

The items taken included a diamond ring valued at $89,000, an emerald ring valued at $12,825, and diamond drop earrings valued at $5,000, bringing the total taken to $106,025. Also reported stolen was a broken gold necklace, the arrest report said.

She later pawned the emerald ring and gold necklace for $120.

The diamond ring was located in Payne's bedroom dresser drawer, according to the arrest report.

In an interview with a Manatee County Sheriff's Detective, Lisa confessed, the arrest report said.

Payne remains in the Manatee County Jail in lieu of a $19,000 bail bond.

Detectives believe there may be more victims of Lisa Payne, through her house cleaning service.

Anyone with information regarding this case or other incidents involving Lisa Payne and her house cleaning service is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office at (941) 747-3011, x2534.

Manatee Deputies Arrest Woman
for Theft of Prescription Drugs
from Bradenton Residence

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office has arrested Kathleen Guilia Piergrossi, 21, of 310 136th Street East, Bradenton.

Kathleen Guilia Piergrossi

According to the arrest report, on Wednesday, May 6, 2009, at about 2:30 p.m., Piergrossi was at a residence in the 3700 block of 36th Street East, Bradenton.

A witness saw Piergrossi place a prescription medication bottle into her waistband as she exited from the home's bathroom.

The resident, Pamela Jones, noticed her just-filled prescription bottle of Oxycodone was missing from her purse.

Ms. Jones accused Piergrossi of taking the pills.

Piergrossi agreed to a search of her vehicle and purse.

During the search, Deputy Hearn located 12 30mg pills of Oxycodone, one partial pill of Xanax and 2 pills and odd pieces of Suboxone.

Dep. Hearn place Piergrossi in his cruiser. She was subsequently removed from Dep. Hearn's cruiser for arrest and pat down by a female deputy.

As Piergrossi stepped from Dep. Hearn's cruiser, several more Oxycodone pills feel from her clothing to the ground, for a total of 18 pills.

Piergrossi was arrested and charged with Grand Theft (prescription medication), Unlawful Possession of Prescription Medication (Oxycodone), Unlawful Possession of Prescription Medication (Xanax), and Unlawful Possession of Prescription Medication (Suboxone).

Piergrossi remains in the Manatee County Jail in lieu of a bail bond of $4,000.

High Speed Pursuit Nets
Two Auto Thieves

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office reported a high speed pursuit of a stolen car on Wednesday, May 6, 2009, that began at about 8:45 p.m. in the 6200 block of 9th Street East, Bradenton. When the pursuit ended, two people were taken into custody; one of them was a minor.

Jamie Hobday
(Minor not pictured)

Deputy Ambrus was in the 5700 block of 9th Street East when he observed a silver Altima with two occupants going south on 9th Street East. Deputy Ambrus was aware that there was a silver Altima on the stolen vehicle list with the tag of L584UK. As Deputy Ambrus got behind the car he confirmed that it was the stolen vehicle.

The vehicle began to pull away and Deputy Ambrus activated his emergency lights and began pursuit.

Deputy Ambrus called out the pursuit until Deputy Moreland took over as the secondary and he began to call out the pursuit. Deputy Moreland continuously updated that there was light traffic and that the speeds were 80 MPH.

The pursuit started in the 6200 block of 9th Street East and ended when the vehicle pulled into 708 60th Avenue Terrace East and the occupants tried to bail out.

Deputy Ambrus apprehended the driver and Deputy Moreland followed the passenger into the house in fresh pursuit.

The driver was Jamie Hobday, 28, and the passenger was Ramesse Harris, 15.

Both were arrested without incident. They were each charged with Grand Theft Auto. Hobday was additionally charged with Fleeing to Elude at High Speeds, Driving While License Suspended and Giving a False Name to Law Enforcement. It is unknown if any additional charges were made against Harris.

Hobday remains in the Manatee County Jail on a bail bond of $6,620. Harris was taken to the Juvenile Booking Center.

Bradenton Cops Arrest Man
for Possession of Coke, Pot

BRADENTON, Florida [NMT] -- A Bradenton Police Department arrest report said on Wednesday, May 6, 2009, at about 7:20 p.m., officers arrested Stacy McNear, 42, of 1402 12th Street West, Palmetto.

Stacy McNear

According to the arrest report, BPD officers served a search warrant on a residence in the 1100 block of 15th Street West, Bradenton.

Upon arrival, as soon as McNear saw police he began to flee on foot. He was ordered to stop and did so.

In a search of McNear, officers found a bag of cocaine in his front right coin pocket and a bag of marijuana in his right back pants pocket.

McNear also attempted to throw a bag of marijuana, which was recovered in a neighboring yard.

During the search of McNear's residence, officers located a bag of rock cocaine in McNear's bedroom.

The report didn't indicate the quantity of drugs found.

McNear was arrested and charged with Possession of Cocaine and Possession of Marijuana and transported to the Manatee County Jail.

McNear posted an $1,120 bail bond and was released from jail the next day.

Volunteers Begin Building
6 Ramps in 6 Days

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- "I guess when times get tough, the tough get going", says AmeriCorps*VISTA member Al Gedeon.

For the second consecutive year, Gedeon is leading a local project to build six wheelchair ramps in six days. This year the event kicks off National AmeriCorps Week - May 9-16, 2009.

Numerous volunteers from throughout the community are joining Volunteer Manatee, AmeriCorps* VISTA 20/20 VISTA Vision Project, and the Suncoast for Independent Living (SCIL) to build 6 Ramps in 6 Days for individuals that are less fortunate and cannot afford the ramp construction.

With $5,000 grant money, teams will be building the ramps, with the first one slated to be built May 13, and the rest to be built by the 15th of June. Many of the team members -- all volunteers -- participated last year.

Volunteer Florida ( ) is hosting the event in six communities throughout the state. Statewide sponsors are The Corporation for National & Community Service, AmeriCorps Florida and the Volunteer Florida Foundation.

The 6 Ramps 6 Days project increases the capacity of local organizations to build wheelchair ramps for community members with disabilities who have no other means to pay for a ramp.

For more information, call the 6 Days 6 Ramps hotline at (941) 749-3029 x 3662.

Sarasota Police Accuse Man
of Kidnapping, Raping Woman

SARASOTA COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office has arrested Ulices Serrano, 27, a transient.

Ulices Serrano

According to Serrano's arrest report, on Saturday, May 2, 2009, at about 3:30 p.m., a woman reported while she was walking through Gillespie Park, in Sarasota, she was approached by a man later identified as Serrano.

They started talking and when the woman realized Serrano was intoxicated, she began to walk away.

Serrano grabbed her by the hair and pulled her into a ditch and raped her.

The woman reported the encounter to the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office. A detective compiled a photo pack and the woman positively identified Serrano as the rapist.

On Wednesday, May 6, 2009, a deputy saw Serrano in the area of 10th Street and Orange Avenue and arrested him.

Serrano was found to have a steak knife in his possession.

Serrano was charged with Kidnapping, Sexual Battery and Carrying a Concealed Weapon.

He remains in the Sarasota County Jail without bond.

FDLE Arrests Multi-County
ATM Thief, Including One
in Manatee County

TALLAHASSEE, Florida [NMT] -- The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has announced the arrest of Nasedra Kewon Lumpkin for the theft of 11 Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) in nine Florida counties. Lumpkin, 33, of Pahokee, is charged with Grand Theft over $100,000, a first degree felony.

Nasedra Kewon Lumpkin

The charge stems from a 15-month investigation by FDLE’s Palm Beach Field Office. Investigators allege that Lumpkin took the ATMs by dislodging them from their base with front end loaders stolen from local construction sites. Lumpkin used the buckets on the front end loaders to remove the ATM machines and lift them into the back of a pickup truck. Lumpkin also routinely stole the pickup trucks used in the thefts. FDLE worked in conjunction with multiple local law enforcement agencies throughout the state to track Lumpkin and link the incidents together.

The thefts occurred between January and July 2008 and involved bank ATMs in Palm Beach, Indian River, Polk, Orange, Lake, Osceola, Marion, Seminole and Manatee counties. The amount of cash and deposits stolen totaled over $1 million. The use of the front end loaders to steal the ATMs caused more than $575,000 in damage to the banks.

Lumpkin is currently being held in the Leon County Jail where he was booked after being arrested for the final ATM theft he committed on July 20, 2008 in Tallahassee. During that incident, Lumpkin originally escaped capture but was located and arrested 10 days later in South Carolina.

Lumpkin will be transferred to Palm Beach County to be booked on the new grand theft charges. The case will be prosecuted by Attorney General Bill McCollum’s Office of Statewide Prosecution.

Governor Crist Signs Confidential
Informant Protections into Law

TALLAHASSEE, Florida [NMT] – On Thursday, May 7, 2009, Governor Charlie Crist today signed House Bill 271, also known as Rachel’s Law, which creates guidelines for law enforcement agencies’ use of confidential informants. Today marks the one-year anniversary of the death of Rachel Hoffman, who was murdered while being a confidential informant for the Tallahassee Police Department.

“Rachel’s Law is a good example of our democracy at work, where consensus is often necessary to achieve progress for a greater good,” said Governor Crist. “I applaud our law enforcement agencies for recognizing the need to provide more protections to confidential informants and supporting this legislation.”

Sponsored by Senators Mike Fasano and Representative Peter Nehr, the bill requires law enforcement agencies that use confidential informants to do the following:

Inform each person being asked to serve as a confidential informant of the following:

~ The agency's inability to offer inducements.

~ The informant's opportunity to consult with an attorney, among other things.

~ Establish policies and procedures addressing the recruitment and use of confidential informants and ensure that all appropriate personnel receive training about those policies and procedures.

~ Establish written security procedures relating to files identifying a confidential informant.

~ Review the agency’s confidential informant practices periodically to ensure the agency’s policies and procedures are being followed.

In addition to the bill’s sponsors, Rachel’s parents, Irv Hoffman and Margie Weiss, also attended the bill signing ceremony.

Identity Theft Up 28%
in Central Florida

ORLANDO, Florida [NMT/WKMT] -- Identity theft cases are on the rise in Central Florida and criminals are getting bolder in their tactics, according to Orlando television station WKMG.

The Federal Trade Commission said the number of identity theft cases has risen nearly 28 percent in Central Florida.

WKMG News said identity thieves are targeting a new kind of victim -- busy moms.

A woman who was only identified as Kelli said she was targeted in a brief moment when she was not paying attention to her belongings.

"It was a cold day. I left my car running. I just couldn't believe that in five minutes someone could have opened by car door, taken my purse, and nobody saw anything," Kelli said.

Kelli said she thought she knew what to do. She froze her accounts and filed a report online with the Orange County Sheriff's Department, but those precautions did not stop the thieves.

Within hours, her bank accounts were drained.

"Every time I would think they were bold enough and they'd gotten enough money and they would stop, a week would go by and they would go to a different banking center and they'd do it again," Kelli said.

Over a six-week period thieves stole nearly $20,000 from Kelli.

"They were even using my debit card, going to the tellers and getting money off my debit card without knowing my pin," Kelli said.

Fraud detectives said criminals like the ones that targeted Kelli have found a way to keep their own identities hidden by using the farthest drive-through lane at the bank so tellers cannot get a clear view of who is making the transaction.

"It’s been a very hard lesson to learn because it wasn't a one-time event. It's been going on for months," Kelli said.

Orange County Sheriff's Office Economic Crimes detective Johan Anderson said identity theft is on the rise in Orange County.

"We get between 300 and 400 cases a month," Anderson said. "Nowadays it is not a matter of if it's going to happen to you, it's a matter of when."

Kelli said she considers herself lucky because her banks replenished her accounts, but that is not always the case.

Investigators believe they have a lead on one suspect thanks to a bank surveillance camera, WKMG reported.



Update on Manatee Sheriff's
K-9 Corps; One Retiree, One
New Face, One K-9 Deputy
We Didn't Know About

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- Sgt. Rod Taylor, of the Manatee County Sheriff's Office was good enough to update NewsManatee recently on the Manatee County Sheriff's K-9 corps, following our cover article last week about the pooches.

Above, K-9 Deputy Kaos (Ret.)

K-9 Deputy Kaos, who was featured at the top of the article last week, has retired. Kaos was handled by Dep. Sutton, who now handles K-9 Dep. Rosco. Kaos served Manatee County well and we wish him a happy retirement...!!

Above, K-9 Deputy Chico

K-9 Deputy Chico, pictured above, is handled by Deputy Mike Gerholdt. Chico is a 3-year-old Dutch Shepherd and has only been out of training a few months. Welcome aboard, Chico...!!

Above, K-9 Deputy Perkins

K-9 Deputy Perkins, pictured above, is handled by Sgt. Rod Taylor. Dep. Perkins is the only black Labrador Retriever in the unit. He is trained in drugs and tracking people, but doesn't bite. He is used for tracking missing children and elderly people with dementia issues.

And there you have it -- one retiree, one new, and one we didn't know about, all serving Manatee County with vim, vigor and vitality.

[Ed. Note: Our thanks to Sgt. Rod Taylor for updating us on the sheriff's K-9 corps.]

Deputy Arrests Man for
Threatening Other Man
with "Handgun"

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- A Manatee County Sheriff's Deputy has arrested Scott Kurtyka, 44, of 13507 Bent Oak Drive, Sarasota.

Scott Kurtyka

According to the arrest report, on Tuesday, May 5, 2009, at about 4 p.m., an unnamed victim said he was walking in the street in the 5600 block of 14th Street West, when he walked passed Kurtyka.

Kurtyka began to argue with the victim and yell at him, then pulled a handgun and racked it as if to load it.

The victim told deputies he was in fear of his life and ran. He then called the sheriff's office.

When the deputy arrived, he went to the house where this occurred in front of and found Kurtyka. He was visiting there, apparently.

The victim identified Kurtyka as the man with the gun.

Kurtyka said he didn't have a gun. His vehicle was in the driveway at the location and the deputy asked if he could search the vehicle; Kurtyka said he could.

Upon searching the vehicle, the deputy found a holster.

Kurtyka again was asked is he had a gun. This time he said, "No, but I have a CO2 pistol." He told the deputy it was in the house.

The deputy went inside and removed a black handgun which was a CO2 pellet gun, but looked just like a Walther handgun.

The victim said it looked like the gun Kurtyka had pulled on him.

Kurtyka was then arrested and charged with Aggravated Assault.

Kurtyka remains in the Manatee County Jail on a bail bond of $100,000, according to the sheriff's website.

Bradenton Beach Man
Arrested for $10,000+
Grand Theft

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office has arrested Shawn P. Gettinger, 21, of 1203 Gulf Drive South, Bradenton Beach.

Shawn P. Gettinger

According to the arrest report, between Sept. 2008 and April 2009, Gettinger allegedly stole jewelry and electronics from friends he was living with in the 500 block of South Drive, in Anna Maria.

The items stolen amounted to 57 individual items valued in excess of $10,000.

Gettinger then sold the items at local pawn shops to support a drug habit, the report said.

Only 14 items were able to be recovered from the pawn shops.

Gettinger was charged with Grand Theft, 9 counts of Defrauding a Pawn Broker and 9 counts of Dealing in Stolen Property.

He remains in the Manatee County Jail in lieu of a $25,500 bail bond.

Man Arrested at Home Depot
for Attempted Grand Theft

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Home Depot store, located at 5474 University Parkway, Bradenton, was the victim of the attempted theft of a generator on Tuesday, May 5, 2009, at about 4:30 p.m.

Ronnie G. Miller, Jr.

Ronnie G. Miller, Jr., 36, of 7011 8th Street Court East, Sarasota, was arrested and charged with Grand Theft, according to a report from the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.

The report said Miller was observed by a loss prevention employee selecting a generator valued at $429. He then proceeded to exit the store, passing all points of purchase without paying for the item.

Miller was stopped outside the store by the loss prevention employee.

When a deputy arrived, Miller confessed to stealing the generator, the report said. He said he did so "...because his friends offered him $20 to steal it for them."

Miller was charged with Retail Grand Theft.

He remains in the Manatee County Jail on a bail bond of $1,000.

Railroad Museum Offers
Free Rides to Mom on
Mother's Day Weekend

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- Happy Mother's Day! The Florida Railroad Museum is offering a free ride for Mom with a paid child's ticket.

The Museum is open on both Saturday and Sunday, May 9th and 10th, with diesel-powered excursions.

The train departs at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. both days.

Treat Mom to a train ride...!!

The Birthday Caboose is also available for charter.

And, rent their locomotive and they'll show you how to operate it and be the engineer for an hour!

For more information about the Florida Railroad Museum, logon to

9th Annual Florida Sheriffs’
Youth Ranches Fishing

SARASOTA COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office will be holding the 9th Florida Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches Fishing Tournament on Saturday, May 9th, 2009 at the Venice Yacht Club, 1330 Tarpon Center Drive, Venice.

Boats will leave the Venice Yacht Club at 8:00 a.m. for a half day of fishing followed by a cookout, an awards ceremony, and swimming at the Venice Yacht Club. Trophies will be awarded for categories such as longest fish, heaviest fish, biggest overall fish, smallest fish and ugliest fish. Awards will also be presented to the winning boat captains.

Several local businesses are sponsoring this event and many members of the community and law enforcement officers donate their time and vessels for this worthy cause. The event encourages an interest in the sport of fishing and allows for law enforcement officers to interact with children of all ages from the Florida Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches.

For more information about the Florida Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches, visit

14 Suspected Gang Members
Arrested in Winter Garden,

WINTER GARDEN, Florida [NMT/WKMG] -- Fourteen suspected gang members were arrested Tuesday in a large bust by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Orlando television station WKMG reported.

Investigators believe the suspects were members of the Westside gang out of Winter Garden, which is believed to be led by Daniel Perez.

The 14 suspects were at the Lake County Jail. They are suspected to be involved in hundreds of thousands of dollars in drug money, hundreds of pounds of marijuana and 150 kilos of cocaine that authorities have found over the past five years.

Authorities said the gang's operations mirrored those of an international operation.

Four fugitives are still at large, including one man believed to be involved in a 2006 murder. FDLE officers said they are working to change that.

"You are going to come to our attention, and when you do, we are going to disrupt and dismantle you," Joyce Dawley of the FDLE said.

Bonds for the suspected gang members range from $25,000 to $1.5 million.

Authorities said the Westside gang was using two Winter Garden businesses to launder money: Hot Dog City and Diana's Secretarial Services, WKMG reported.

Governor Crist Signs Bill
Mandating Safety Belts
in Motor Vehicles

TALLAHASSEE, Florida [NMT] -- On Wednesday, May 6, 2009, Governor Charlie Crist signed Senate Bill 344, the Dori Slosberg and Katie Marchetti Safety Belt Law. The legislation mandates the use of seatbelts in motor vehicles, effective June 30, 2009.

“Today I am proud to sign legislation that will help save lives in Florida and prevent serious injuries that otherwise could have been prevented,” said Governor Crist. “Nothing is of greater importance than keeping Florida’s citizens and visitors safe.”

Violation of the Dori Slosberg and Katie Marchetti Safety Belt Law is a primary enforceable action and will result in a citation. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates primary enforcement will prevent 142 fatalities in Florida annually. Florida joins 26 states that already have laws for primary enforcement of safety belts. In 2007, Florida ranked 35th in seat belt usage with a usage rate of 79.1 percent.

Sponsored by Senator Nan Rich and Representative Rich Glorioso, the legislation modifies and renames the current safety belt law. The new law also removes an exemption for passengers of a pickup truck.

The families of Dori Slosberg and Katie Marchetti attended the bill signing ceremony. Dori Slosberg and Katie Marchetti both lost their lives as a result of car crashes that occurred while they were not wearing safety belts. Dori Slosberg died at age 14 in 1996. Katie Marchetti died at age 16 in 2006.




Bradenton Police Arrest Man
for Kidnapping Girl, 16, Who
Was On House Arrest

BRADENTON, Florida [NMT] -- Bradenton Police have arrested an 18-year-old man who kidnapped a 16-year-old girl from her home on Monday, May 4, 2009.

Corey Scott Lawrence Watson

According to the arrest report from BPD, Corey Watson, 18, of the 1900 block of 72nd Street West, Bradenton, drove to a residence in the 3200 block of 16th Avenue West in a black Toyota Camry and picked up the girl.

The father said, "You are making a big mistake; my daughter is on house arrest."

Watson then allegedly said, "What did you say? [Expletive deleted] you," and drove off with the girl.

Shortly afterward, a Bradenton Police Detective arrived at the residence with an investigator from the Dept. of Juvenile Justice to conduct a Violation of Probation Investigation.

The father told the detective about Watson snatching his daughter and provided the detective with the last number his daughter called.

The detective called the number and advised Watson to bring the juvenile back and he did.

Once the vehicle came to the juvenile's residence, the detective conducted a traffic stop and took Watson into custody.

The father identified Watson as the person who took his daughter.

Watson was arrested and charged with Kidnapping a Minor (Interference with Custody) and Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor.

Watson remains in the Manatee County Jail on a bail bond of $1,500.

Deputies Arrest Man for
Burglary, Battery and
Grand Theft

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office has arrested Brian Burnell Becker, 22, of 22115 27th Avenue East, Bradenton.

Brian Burnell Becker

According to Becker's arrest report, on Monday, May 4, 2009, at about 2:45 p.m., Cory Collins was stopped at a red light at State Road 70 and Lockwood Ridge Road, Bradenton.

Becker opened Collins' car door while Collins was inside it and began to strike Collilns with a closed fist.

While Collins was being battered, his cell phone fell out of his vehicle and Becker took the phone, the report said.

Becker and an unknown friend then fled the scene.

Becker was later located at his home by another deputy, arrested and transported to the Manatee County Jail.

During an interview with Becker at the jail, at one point he was asked where he was that day. He stated he was on State Road 70 at about noon. But his affidavit said he was in his neighborhood all day.

Becker was arrested and charged with Burglary with Battery and Grand Theft.

He remains in the Manatee County Jail on a bail bond of $11,000.

Superior Bank Robbed
in City of Bradenton

BRADENTON, Florida [NMT] -- On Tuesday, May 5, 2009, Bradenton Police Department officers responded to Superior Bank, 2207 Manatee Avenue West, regarding a bank robbery.

The male suspect, pictured above, entered the bank shortly after 1 p.m. and presented a note demanding money from a teller.

The robber fled the bank on foot after receiving an undisclosed amount of money.

Officers and detectives, including a K-9 team, conducted a search for the suspect, to no avail.

The K-9 tracked the man for about a block, then lost the scent, a local report said.

The incident is currently under investigation by Bradenton police detectives.

Anyone with any information about this case is asked to call the Bradenton Police Department at (941) 932-9300 or CrimeStoppers at 1-866-634-TIPS (8477) -- or, to provide an anonymous e-Tip by computer, .

Callers to the CrimeStoppers tip line and Tipsters who submit e-Tips by computer will remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward.

Man Arrested for Burglary
to Brother's Residence

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office has arrested David Allen McPherson, 32, of 5124 22nd Street Court East, Bradenton.

David Allen McPherson

According to the arrest report, on Monday, May 4, 2009, shortly after midnight, the victim, Christopher McPherson, David's brother, heard a noise in the kitchen of his residence in the 4600 block of 32nd Court East, Bradenton, that sounded like someone going through the cabinets.

When Christopher walked out into the kitchen, he noticed the door to the garage was closing.

Christopher ran out into the garage and a light came on. He saw his brother David running out of the door and towards his car.

Christopher yelled to David by name, but David jumped into his car and fled the area.

Christopher called the sheriff's office and told them that his brother has a drug problem and knows that Christopher has prescription drugs in the house, the report said.

However, nothing was reported missing from the residence.

Deputies later caught up to David at his residence and arrested him.

He was charged with Burglary to an Occupied Dwelling.

He remains in the Manatee County Jail, apparently unable to post bond.

K-Mart Employee Arrested
For Grand Theft from Store

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- A Manatee County Sheriff's Deputy has arrested Casey L. Dalton, 18, of last known address of the 100 block of 75th Street Northwest, Bradenton.

Casey L. Dalton

The arrest report said after a lengthy investigation by the store's manager and loss prevention, on Monday, May 4, 2009, at about 11 a.m., Casey was confronted about taking items from K-Mart, where he was employed.

Casey admitted to the crimes, cooperated with the K-Mart staff and provided sworn affidavits.

Casey told the deputy who was called to the store that he had moved out of his parent's home and has been stealing food and cleaning items from the store during his 3-year employment.

He denied taking electronics, saying he never had a key to that cabinet.

The amount of items taken amounted to $2,829.81, the report said.

Casey was arrested and charged with Grand Theft.

He posted a $1,000 bail bond and was released from the Manatee County Jail.

Four Laptop Computers
Reported Stolen from
Bayshore High School

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- On Thursday, April 30, 2009, at about 10 a.m., two reports were made to the Manatee County Sheriff's Office regarding stolen laptop computers.

In one report, three laptops were reported stolen.

In another report, a laptop was stolen and replaced by a non-working one.

There are no suspects at this time listed in the Grand Theft incident reports.

Anyone with any information about this case is asked to call the Manatee County Sheriff's Office at (941) 747-3011 or CrimeStoppers at 1-866-634-TIPS (8477) -- or, to provide an anonymous e-Tip by computer, .

Callers to the CrimeStoppers tip line and Tipsters who submit e-Tips by computer will remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward.

Two Deputies, Rushing to Fight
Call, Slam Into Each Other's
Cruisers At Cop Shop

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office reported a collision between two deputies at the sheriff's office headquarters parking lot, 600 301 Blvd. West, on Monday, May 4, 2009, at about 7:20 p.m.

The report said Dep. R. Blue and Dep. P. Drymon were leaving squad meeting and responding to an in-progress fight call at La Mirada, when deputies on scene began calling for backup.

Dep. Blue was backing out of a parking space at the District One parking lot as Dep. Drymon was driving forward through the parking lot.

Dep. Drymon's right front end collided with Dep. Blue's left rear end.

The total damage is estimated at $4000.00 for both vehicles.

Both vehicles were able to be driven from the scene and there were no injuries.

BPD Announces Annual
Mother's Day Gun
Buy Back Program

BRADENTON, Florida [NMT] -- On Tuesday, May 5, 2009, Chief of Police Michael Radzilowski announced that the City of Bradenton Police Department will be conducting its annual Mother’s Day Gun Buy Back Program.

The gun buy back will take place in the 1500 block of Martin Luther King Blvd. East, on May 10th, between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.

In keeping with the Police Department’s mission statement of “eliminating crime, and the fear of crime, and to enhance the quality of life for our stakeholders,” BPD is asking citizens to participate in this initiative to rid the community of deadly firearms. In a continuing partnership with Bealls Incorporated, the participating citizen will receive a gift card(s) that may be redeemed at any Bealls Department Store, or Bealls Outlet Store.

This program allows citizens to turn in any type of “functional firearm” in exchange for a Bealls gift card(s), while remaining anonymous. The below denominations will be given for the following types of firearms:

Assault Rifles, Automatic Weapons - $100.00
Semi-Automatic Handguns and Rifles - $50.00
Revolvers and Non Semi-Automatic Rifles - $25.00

All firearms should be transported in a secure container (preferably inside the trunk of a vehicle). When bringing the guns to drop off, they should be empty of all ammunition, and wrapped in a paper bag or newspaper. If you are unable to unload or are uncertain if the firearm(s) is loaded or not, please inform the Police Officer upon arrival.

No Questions Asked, and No Fear of Being Arrested.

If you have questions, please feel free to contact Lt. Warren Merriman at (941) 932 – 9300 x316.

Manatee Sheriff's Office Seeks
Pickup Possibly Involved in
Vehicle, Boat Burglaries

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office is asking the public's assistance in locating a vehicle that may be involved in numerous burglaries in the county.

A sheriff's BOLO said "Be on the lookout for an older, blue, 2 door Chevy P/U with a grey panel somewhere on the truck. It may be involved with numerous vehicle and boat burglaries around the county with special interest to areas west of US 41 in Bradenton. It should be operated by at least 2 white males with blondish or light brown hair, mid-late 20's."

If you see this vehicle suspicious in your area, please contact your local law enforcement agency at their respective phone number:

Manatee County Sheriff's Office: 747-3011
Bradenton Police Department: 932-9300
Palmetto Police Department: 721-2000

If you know who these suspects are, please call Crimestoppers at 1(866)634-TIPS (8477) and refer to Manatee County Sheriff's Office case numbers: 09-21247 and 09-21623. You can also provide an anonymous e-Tip by computer, by .

Callers to the CrimeStoppers tip line and Tipsters who submit e-Tips by computer will remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward.

Law Enforcement Memorial
Service To Be Held

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The annual Law Enforcement Memorial Service will be held on Thursday, May 14, 2009, at 10:30 a.m.

The event will take place in front of the Manatee County Courthouse in downtown Bradenton, 1115 Manatee Avenue West.

Local Lodge #70 of the Fraternal Order of Police will host the event.

The public is invited to attend the memorial service to remember law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty.

National Police Week for 2009 runs from May 10th through May 16th.

Marine Patrol Volunteers
Rescue Man on Sinking Boat

CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office received a call at 10:57 a.m. Sunday morning, May 3, 2009, concerning an overturned 14-foot boat in Charlotte Harbor off U.S. 41 and Bayshore Fishing Pier. The stern of the boat took on water in rough waters and overturned.

Volunteers Patrick Shine and Ken Bertram were patrolling Countryman Waterway when they heard the call from CCSO Dispatch and were about 20-minutes away; fortunately they were nearest to the boater.

As they got closer, they observed King K. Wan, of Punta Gorda Isles, on top of his overturned boat.

Wan, who was wearing his personal flotation device, was transferred to the Sheriff’s boat and taken to a nearby pier.

The volunteers went back to the overturned boat as it was a hazard to navigation and stood buy until it was towed away.

FWC was notified and completed the boating accident investigation.

The Sheriff’s Office has three Marine Patrol deputies and 165 square miles of water to patrol.

Workers Find 5,000-Year-Old
Bones at Lake Lawton Site

MALABAR, Florida [NMT/WKMG] -- Workers at a Space Coast project site have uncovered teeth and bone fragments believed to be up to 5,000 years old, Orlando television station WKMG reported.

The items were found last month in Malabar at the site of an area to be flooded to create Lake Lawton.

The human remains have been reburied.

Thousands of other items, including fish hooks and tools believed to be fashioned by American Indians from bones, have been sent to a laboratory.

The $15 million project, which calls for flooding 7,000 acres at the end of Malabar Road, has been stalled indefinitely as federal officials negotiate with the Seminole and the Miccosukee tribes over how to proceed, WKMG said.



Bradenton Police Arrest Two Men,
One for Possession and Sale of
Heroin, Crack Cocaine; Other
for Possession of Coke, Pot

BRADENTON, Florida [NMT] -- Bradenton Police conducted an undercover drug operation on Friday, May 1, 2009, at about 3 p.m. in the parking lot of Applebee's restaurant, 4300 Cortez Road West, Bradenton.

Above, L to R, Mickey McGuire and Dennis Smalls

The target of the operation, Mickey McGuire, 32, pulled up in a pickup truck. McGuire exited the pickup and sat in the undercover vehicle.

A transaction was completed and McGuire was arrested for Possession of Heroin, Sale of Heroin, Possession of Rock Cocaine, Sale of Rock Cocaine (two counts), Sale of Illegal Narcotics Within 1,000 Feet of a Business, and Possession of Powder Cocaine.

The amount of drugs purchased by the undercover officer from McGuire is unknown at this time.

During McGuire's takedown, the passenger in McGuire's pickup truck, Dennis Smalls, 32, was observed by an officer with a bag of crack cocaine on his lap. Smalls attempted to conceal the cocaine by throwing it out the window, then reached for a bag of marijuana.

Officers pulled Smalls out of the pickup truck and recovered the drugs Smalls was attempting to conceal.

The crack cocaine Smalls had was 14.2 grams; the marijuana weighed out to 6.0 grams.

Smalls was arrested and charged with Possession of Cocaine and Possession of Marijuana.

Smalls posted a bail bond of $1,120 and was released from the Manatee County Jail.

McQuire remains in the Manatee County Jail on a bail bond of $32,000.

Manatee Detective Arrests
Young Man for Grand Theft,
from Dad, Much More

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- A Manatee County Sheriff's Detective has arrested Brian M. Thompson, 22, of the 11400 block of 56th Street Circle East, Bradenton.

Brian M. Thompson

According to the arrest report, Thompson was arrested on Thursday, April 30, 2009, for an alleged theft that occurred on April 6, 2009.

On that day and date, Thompson entered the Cash America pawn shop in Palmetto and offered his father's gas generator for sale, alleging he was the owner of the generator.

Apparently, Thompson took his father's generator and has been taking numerous other items from his father and pawning them, the report said.

Thompson was charged with Grand Theft and Defrauding a Pawn Broker.

More charges could follow, Manatee County Sheriff's Detective Dickerman wrote.

Indeed, there were more charges.

On May 1, 2009, Thompson was additionally charged with Burglary of an Unoccupied Dwelling, four more counts of Defrauding a Pawn Broker, and four counts of Dealing in Stolen Property.

Thompson remains in the Manatee County Jail on a bail bond of $20,000.

Man Arrested for Throwing
"Deadly Missile" At SUV

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office reported it has arrested Joseph Golsen, 29, of 2115 5th Street East, Bradenton.

Joseph Golsen, aka Joseph Golson

According to the arrest report, on Friday, May 1, 2009, at about 9:30 p.m., the victim, Kermit Rivera-Cappas was driving his white Ford Explorer on 44th Avenue East, heading East. He was in the 800 block when he saw Golsen throw a beer can at the SUV's windshield on the right side.

Kermit stopped the SUV in the middle lane when the beer can hit the windshield.

Kermit then witnessed Golsen and another Black male walk across the street, displaying aggressive behavior by throwing their hands in the air and appearing to want to "fight" Kermit.

An arriving deputy found a "Natural Ice" beer can wrapped in a small paper bag that was still cold to the touch and still wet.

Kermit told deputies he and his passengers were in fear for their safety.

Golsen was arrested and charged with five counts of Throwing a Deadly Missile.

He posted a $5,000 bail bond the next day and was released from jail.

Bradenton Beach Police Bust
Man for Shooting from
Balcony, More

BRADENTON BEACH, Florida [NMT] -- Bradenton Beach Police have arrested Chad Alexander Foster, 18, of Riverview, Florida.

Chad Alexander Foster

According to the arrest report from BBPD, on Sunday, May 3, 2009, at about 6:30 a.m., Police were called to 1955 Gulf Drive North, in Bradenton Beach, on a report of someone firing a weapon off the balcony.

Upon arrival, with assistance from Holmes Beach Police, officers made entry to the house and secured all 30 people located inside.

Holmes Beach Officer Joel Pierce saw Chad Foster reach for a loaded Sig Sauer .40 caliber handgun that was under a blanket. Officer Pierce said he could see the butt of the weapon sticking out.

At that point, Foster was detained with handcuffs and BBPD took custody of him.

A witness approached officers and identified Foster as the man he saw standing on the top floor balcony with a gun in his hand. The witness said Foster pointed the gun south and discharged it down Gulf Drive. The witness then called 911.

Foster denied everything, but was talkative and showing obvious signs of impairment. He said he had been "partying all night" and drinking vodka and spiced rum all night. He had a strong odor of alcohol on his breath and was unsteady on his feet, the report said. He was obviously intoxicated, BBPD Officer Jason Higgins wrote.

Foster was charged with Discharging a Firearm in Public, Possession of a Firearm with Altered/Removed Serial Numbers, Using a Firearm While Under the Influence of Alcohol, Carrying an Unconcealed Firearm and Possession of Marijuana.

Foster has since bonded out of the Manatee County Jail, posting a bail bond of $2,370.

Deputies Arrest Man for
Trafficking in Marijuana

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- Manatee County Sheriff's Deputies have arrested Leon Tyree Lamb, 30, of the 5800 block of 9th Street East, Bradenton.

Leon Tyree Lamb

According to the arrest report, on Saturday, May 2, 2009, at about 11 p.m., deputies went to the address to arrest Lamb on an outstanding warrant for failing to appear in court on a summons.

While there, deputies spotted the plants in a bedroom when they learned that there were children in the home who would be unsupervised and went to check on them. There were a total of 143 marijuana plants that were found.

Deputies also found a gun and ammunition.

Lamb was arrested and charged with Armed Trafficking in Marijuana, Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted felon, and Contempt of Court and Violation of Probation for the unanswered summons.

Lamb remains in the Manatee County Jail on a bail bond of $110,000.

Man Arrested for Selling
Counterfeit Crack Cocaine

BRADENTON, Florida [NMT] -- Bradenton Police have arrested Ashley Elijah Jones, 29, of 2314 N. Osprey, Sarasota.

Ashley Elijah Jones

According to the arrest report from BPD, on Friday, May 1, 2009, at about 9:10 p.m., an officer was dispatched to 955 53rd Street East, reference a violent battery in progress.

Upon his arrival, he observed Jones attempting to leave the scene on foot.

The officer approached Jones and ordered him on the ground. Jones was handcuffed and searched.

The officer found a "crazy glue" container. Inside was what appeared to be crack cocaine, but it tested negative for crack cocaine.

Jones said he got the substance, which he described as "some bullshit," from a man named "Ace" in Sarasota.

Jones was asked if he was going to try to pass it off as crack cocaine and Jones replied that he was. He said he had done it before.

Jones was arrested and charged with Possession of Counterfeit Drugs with Intent to Sell.

He posted a $1,000 bail bond and was released from the Manatee County Jail.

Humane Society of Manatee County
Offers BOGO on Cat Spay/Neuter
During May

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- Who says BOGO is just for shoes?

The Humane Society of Manatee County Spay/Neuter Clinic is offering special discounts on cat spay and neuter for the month of May. Bring in 2 cats, pay regular price for the first cat surgery and the second cat will be spay/neutered for FREE.

The price for a cat spay is $50, cat neuter is $35.

Don’t miss out on this great opportunity!

For more information or to make an appointment, please call 941-747-8808 x 302 or email

This offer is valid through May 31, 2009.

The Humane Society of Manatee County Spay/Neuter Clinic is located at 2515 14th St. W, Bradenton, FL 34205. Clinic hours are 8 am to 5 pm, Monday thru Friday.

Charlotte Detectives ID Carjacker;
Man Arrested in Tampa

CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office received a call on Friday, May 1, 2009, at 8:39 p.m. concerning a carjacking in the K-Mart parking lot at 19400 Cochran Blvd., in Port Charlotte, and the owner of the vehicle was abducted.

Errol John Mumby
(Mug shot courtesy HCSO)

A 64-year-old North Port woman was sitting in their SUV waiting for her husband to come out of the store. A man opened her car door, jumped behind the wheel and told her he was taking her and the vehicle to Ft. Myers. As he drove out of the parking lot, the man grabbed her as she tried to escape. Then he stopped at a traffic light a couple blocks away and she did manage to open the door and jump out; she was unharmed. She called her husband first and he then called the CCSO.

Major Crimes detectives arrived and talked with the couple. They also located a witness at K-Mart who said he knew the suspect but only knew him as “Taz.” A BOLO was issued for the stolen car and the suspect.

On Saturday night. May 2, 2009, at 8:30 p.m., CCSO detectives were notified by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office that they were called to a Tampa home concerning a domestic dispute and located the stolen car and Errol John Mumby, 42, who had various addresses in Tampa, North Port and Port Charlotte.

HCSO detectives are holding Mumby in their jail for Aggravated Domestic Battery, Aggravated Assault and False Imprisonment on charges committed in that county.

CCSO MCU detectives said Mumby will be charged with Carjacking, False Imprisonment and Battery when he is returned to Charlotte County.

Polk County Sheriff: Man Killed
Wife, Two Sons, Self

LAKELAND, Florida [NMT/WKMG] -- Orlando television station WKMG reported a father shot and killed his wife and two of his sons -- one 5 months old and the other 7 years old -- before killing himself in the front yard of their home on Sunday night, authorities said.

Another son, a 13-year-old, was pursued through the garage by his father, evaded several gunshots, and made it safely to a neighbor's house, Polk County sheriff's officials said.

Investigators believe Troy Ryan Bellar, 34, and his wife, Wendy Bellar, 31, got into a domestic dispute about 9:30 p.m. at their home in Lakeland.

When the wife tried to leave the home with two of the children, deputies said Bellar opened fire with a 7.62 mm rifle and killed his wife, 5-month-old Zack James Bellar and 7-year-old Ryan Patrick Bellar in the front porch area.

Investigators were still trying to determine the sequence of the shooting, but after the shooting began, 13-year-old Nathan Bellar ran from the home and was chased by his father, who fired several shots at him.

"The father shot numerous times at his 13-year-old son but missed him," Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said.

The teen has been placed with family members, WKMG said.

Florida DOH Swine Flu Update

TALLAHASSEE, Florida [NMT] -- The Florida Department of Health has announced five confirmed cases of swine flu; two in Lee, one in Broward, one in Orange County, and one in Pinellas.

The second Lee County confirmation is a 7-year-old male who attends Spring Creek Elementary School. The Pinellas County confirmed case is 24 year-old-male.

Alachua, Lee, Indian River, Okeechobee, and Clay have one probable case each. Palm Beach has two probable cases and Miami Dade has three. Hillsborough County has five probable cases.

A public health emergency was declared by the State Surgeon General.

A toll free information line has been established to address an increasing number of calls from the public requesting Swine Flu information. The number is 1-800-342-3557 and it is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m



Man Found Unconscious in His Yard
Dies; Alleged Killer Turned Himself
In to Sheriff; 14th Murder of 2009

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- A man found unconscious with a head wound in the 3700 block of 19th Street West, Bradenton, Friday night, May 1, 2009, at about 10 p.m. died early Saturday, May 2, 2009, according to the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.

Manuel D. Canales

A neighbor observed Manuel D. Canales, 52, of 3618 19th Street West, Bradenton, chasing Patrick Steele, 42, of 3705 19th Street West, Bradenton, down 19th Street West.

Five to seven minutes later, Patrick was found lying in his front yard with a large laceration on the back side of his head. A later report said Steele had been struck multiple times in the head with a 3-foot iron pipe.

E.M.S Advised that Patrick possibly sustained life-threatening injuries. Patrick was Bayflited to Bayfront Medical Center.

The area was searched for Canales with negative results.

Detectives and crime scene responded to take over the investigation.

Patrick Steele died early Saturday morning, the sheriff's office reported.

What was earlier a case of Aggravated Battery had now become a Murder, according to Dave Bristow, spokesman for the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.

Detectives were trying to locate Canales to obtain further information on the incident.

On Saturday afternoon, Canales turned himself in at the sheriff's office.

Detectives interviewed him and subsequently charged him with the Murder of Patrick Stelle.

This is now the 14th Murder in Manatee County Overall in 2009. There have been 10 homicides in unincorporated Manatee County and 4 homicides in the City of Bradenton.

Bradenton Police Arrest Man
for Murder; 13th of 2009

BRADENTON, Florida [NMT] -- On Wednesday, April 29, 2009, at about 1 a.m., a man was shot and killed in the City of Bradenton. Jerry W. Green, Jr., has been charged with the man's murder.

Jerry W. Green, Jr.

The Bradenton Police Department responded to a residence located at 1510 10th Street West, in Bradenton, in reference to a shooting.

Upon arrival officers located a White male victim with what appeared to be two gunshot wounds.

The victim was identified as Mr. Alex Dawson. Dawson had just turned 20 years old.

Mr. Dawson was Bayflighted to Bayfront Medical in St. Petersburg where he was pronounced dead from his injuries at 3:33 a.m. on Thursday

Through BPD's investigation, they identified one of the suspects in the homicide.

They had active warrants for the arrest of Jerry W. Green Jr., 22.

Late Thursday afternoon, April 30, 2009, Bradenton Police arrested Jerry W. Green, Jr., and charged him with murder.

Green Remains in the Manatee County Jail without bond.

This is the 13th murder overall in Manatee County. There have now been 9murders in unincorporated Manatee County and 4 in the City of Bradenton.

Drugs Stolen from Man During
Strong Arm Robbery Was
False Police Report

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office reported a man was robbed of two bottles of prescription drugs on Thursday, April 30, 2009, at about 11:45 a.m. That report turned out to be false and the man who reported the alleged robbery has been arrested.

Howard Gary Siegel

The original report said Howard Siegel, 54, was held down against his will by Casey Bennett, 22 years old.

Siegel told deputies Bennett then rifled through Siegel's pockets and took two prescription bottles. One of the bottles contained Oxycodone and the other Xanax.

Siegel did not sustain any injuries.

Bennett fled the scene prior to MSO arrival, the initial alleged robbery report said.

The incident supposedly occurred at a residence in the 500 block of 63rd Avenue West, Bradenton.

Detectives later located Bennett who, according to a confidential source, was very cooperative with detectives.

Detectives then went back to Siegel's residence and questioned him. They also searched Siegel's belongings, looking for the alleged stolen drugs.

In the course of that search, detectives located numerous items of drug paraphernalia, NewsManatee's confidential source said.

"Subsequent investigation by detectives determined that a robbery did not take place and Casey Bennett will not be charged," said Dave Bristow, spokesman for the sheriff's office.

Detectives also learned that Howard Siegel was involved in selling prescription pills.

Siegel was charged with 7 counts of Possession of Paraphernalia. He may later be charged with Filing a False Police Report.

He remains in the Manatee County Jail on a bail bond of $602.

Three Deputies Attacked During
Melee Confrontation at Motel

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- Manatee County Sheriff's Deputies were called to a fight at the Rodeway Inn, 2303 1st Street, Bradenton, on Sunday, May 3, 2009, shortly after midnight.

Dietrick Crawford

Upon their arrival, they were met with a crowd of over 100 people in the parking lot. Multiple people were fighting and the deputies on scene called for additional units. Thirty units from all 3 districts responded to assist.

During the incident, Deputy Cudzillo was struck in the face by Dietrick Crawford, 40, causing no injuries to the deputy. Deputies Huff and Belt were both struck by a juvenile female causing no injuries to either deputy.

Both Crawford and the juvenile were transported to Manatee Memorial Hospital.

The juvenile's family members responded to the hospital and incited a disturbance there which was resolved by Bradenton Police.

Both Crawford and the juvenile were subsequently charged with Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer. Crawford was charged with 2 counts of that and Resisting Arrest without Violence. It is unknown exactly what the juvenile may have been additionally charged with.

Crawford remains in the Manatee County Jail in lieu of a bail bond of $3,750.

Boy, 6, Shot By BB Gun;
Three Youths Questioned

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office has questioned three young people in connection with the BB gun shooting of a six-year-old boy on Thursday, April 30, 2009, at about 7 p.m., in the 900 block of 21st Street East, Palmetto.

A sheriff's office report said deputies responded to the above location in reference to a six-year-old juvenile being shot by a BB gun.

Upon arrival, deputies located the victim who had been shot on the left side of his torso, midway between his underarm and his waist.

EMS attempted to locate the projectile beneath the skin but were unable to.

Fearing that the projectile may have entered the victim's chest cavity, he was flown to Bayfront Medical by Bayflite medical chopper.

There were multiple accounts of what had occurred by witnesses, who were not willing to cooperate or provide a statement.

As time went on, a few witnesses came forth and deputies were able to piece together the following chain of events.

The two suspects in the shooting, Cory Bennett, 20; and Earl Byrd, 19, were both armed with BB guns, shooting at glass bottles. The victim was riding his bicycle close to the targets they were shooting.

Bennett, who initially was not present but later came back to the scene, stated that he shot the gun and then realized that the victim had been shot. Bennett stated that he did not intentionally shoot the victim and thought that it may have ricocheted. Bennett stated that after the incident occurred, he fled the area and gave his gun as well as Byrd's gun to a female, later identified as Sherica Garvin, 18. Garvin took the guns and left the area in a vehicle.

While on scene, Bennett contacted Garvin who returned to the scene and turned over the two guns. Garvin stated that she heard Bennett shoot the gun and then say something to the effect of "I think I just shot that kid."

Initial statements indicated that the weapons in question were "stashed" in apartment 45B. It later turned out that this apartment belonged to Garvin. She consensually went to her apartment and retrieved another three BB guns which were also taken into evidence.

It is unknown if the act was intentional or not at this time or who even shot the victim.

As of now the victim is in stable condition with injuries that were not life-threatening.

No arrests have been made at this time.

Young Man Ambushed, Struck,
Robbed by Two Black Males

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office reported a young man was robbed on Friday, May 1, 2009, shortly after midnight in the 800 block of 61st Avenue East, Bradenton.

The report said the victim, Carlos Flores, 18, stated he was walking eastbound on 61st Ave. when two young Black males approached from behind him and struck him in the head, knocking him to the ground.

One of the robbers took $200 from Flores' back pocket.

Flores told deputies he managed to get to his feet and began struggling with the two robbers, when one produced a small pocket knife and threatened Flores with it.

The robber then ripped a gold chain, valued at $200, from Flores' neck.

Both robbers then ran away; the one with the knife dropped it as he ran.

The knife was collected and placed into property and evidence by deputies.

Although the victim had no visible injury, he was transported to Manatee Memorial Hospital by EMS to insure he had no hidden head trauma.

The robbers were described as two Black males, 16-17 years old, wearing all dark clothing.

Anyone with any information about this case is asked to call the Manatee County Sheriff's Office at (941) 747-3011 or CrimeStoppers at 1-866-634-TIPS (8477) -- or, to provide an anonymous e-Tip by computer, .

Callers to the CrimeStoppers tip line and Tipsters who submit e-Tips by computer will remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward.

Three Harlee Middle School
Students Charged with
Making Explosive Device

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- A press release from the Manatee County Sheriff's Office said three unnamed students from Harlee Middle School were arrested on Friday, May 1, 2009.

The three students were charged with Making, Possessing or Throwing a Destructive Device. The students are 14-years-old and in the 8th grade.

According to the press release, the three students made an explosive device in a courtyard area outside of the school cafeteria.

After making the device, they put it under an outdoor bench and ran from the area.

The device exploded a short time later and caused minor damage to bench.

There were no students near the device when it went off.

Shots Fired At Palmetto Home,
Vehicle, No Injuries Reported

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office reported shots were fired at a home in the 2300 block of 2nd Avenue East, Palmetto, on Saturday, May 2, 2009, at about 9:35 p.m.

The report said two deputies heard several shots fired in the above area. Several citizen complaints of gunfire were added to the screen while they were en route.

Upon their arrival they spoke with three victims, ages, 58, 50 and 13, and a witness.

The investigation concluded that an unknown suspect, among a group of four Black males opened fire in the area, then took flight.

The back of the home was struck by one bullet. The home was occupied at the time.

An unoccupied vehicle was also struck by a bullet.

There were no injuries discovered in this investigation

The perpetrators were not further described.

Anyone with any information about this case is asked to call the Manatee County Sheriff's Office at (941) 747-3011 or CrimeStoppers at 1-866-634-TIPS (8477) -- or, to provide an anonymous e-Tip by computer, .

Callers to the CrimeStoppers tip line and Tipsters who submit e-Tips by computer will remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward.

One Dead in Parrish Vehicle
Crash, Subsequent Fire

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Florida Highway Patrol reported a person was killed on Friday, May 1, 2009, at about 2:35 a.m. on U.S. 301, in Parrish. when the person apparently lost control of the vehicle.

According to FHP, the driver was heading east on U.S. 301 near Doris Road and failed to negotiate a curve in the road.

The vehicle, a 2001 Acura, rotated and struck a stop sign, then traveled east on the shoulder. The Acura then struck a chain link fence and overturned, entering a wooded area.

The car then caught fire.

The driver died at the scene.

The driver has been identified as Jason Ritchie, 22. FHP did not have Ritchie's address when we called the Fort Myers regional headquarters.

Two arrested in Sarasota
Armed Home Invasion

SARASOTA, Florida [NMT] -- On Friday, May 1, 2009, Officers of the Sarasota Police Department responded to 760 South Shade Ave in reference to a report of an armed home invasion robbery.

Above, L to R, Christopher Sellars and James Stephens

Upon their arrival, it was learned that two suspects had entered the home and confronted the two victims residing therein, Marilynn Jones & Tony Jones. Marilynn had been sitting in the rear of the residence on the porch and her son Tony had been sleeping in his bedroom. Marilynn is an 82 year old female that walks with the assistance of a cane.

According to their statements they were confronted by two suspects, one tall Black male and a shorter Hispanic looking male. Both of the suspects were described as being armed with "machine guns" when they came inside the Jones’ residence.

The two suspects rounded up the Jones family at gunpoint, forcing them onto the ground in their living room. During the time that the suspects were bringing both Marilynn and Tony into the living room, the Black male suspect struck Tony above his left eye with a firearm. This cause an approximate 1-inch cut above Tony’s left eye.

Once Marilynn and Tony were in the living room area they were forced to lay face down on the floor and then were tied up with electrical cords from the interior of their home. The suspects then went on to ransack their house, taking numerous items and compiling the items that were ultimately stolen onto the dining room table. They then released Tony and forced him to go outside and prepare his own vehicle, a blue 1994 Blue Ford Focus, to transport them away from the crime scene. The suspects then made Tony load his own items into the vehicle which the suspects ultimately drove away in.

The vehicle was located a short time later by Sheriff’s Deputies in the area of Leonard Reid and 32nd St. The car was unoccupied and was towed back to the Sarasota Police Department for processing by criminalistics personnel.

In the course of an unrelated investigation, Officers came into contact with Christopher Sellars, 25, and James Stephens, 20. They were detained in reference to an attempted burglary that officers were investigating in the area of Lido Beach.

During the investigation, it was determined that both Stephens and Sellars were the pair of suspects responsible for the home invasion that occurred at 760 South Shade Ave.

Subsequently, they have both been charged in connection with the crime and are being booked into the Sarasota County Jail on the following charges: Armed Home Invasion Robbery, Aggravated Battery, and Grand Theft Auto.

They are being held in the Sarasota County Jail without bond.

Home Invasion Robbery
Unrelated to Others,
Detectives Say

SARASOTA COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office Deputies responded to a Home Invasion Robbery that occurred at approximately 9:45 p.m., Thursday April 30th, 2009 at 2329 53rd Street, Sarasota.

Two suspects entered the residence and battered and stabbed a male victim. They took various items from the home and left with the victim in the victim’s vehicle. They subsequently abandoned both victim and vehicle at 22nd Street near Euclid Avenue, Sarasota.

The victim, Roy Middleton, 39, a White male, was transported to BayFront Medical Center where he was treated for his injuries and released.

The suspects are described as one Black male, approximately 6’ tall, slim build, and one White male, approximately 5’ 8” tall.

Detectives confirm that based upon their investigation, the above incident is unrelated to the series of recent home invasion robberies currently being investigated.

Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Criminal Investigations Bureau at 941-861-4900 or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers by calling 941-366-TIPS (8477), or online at or via text message by texting TIP109 plus a message to CRIMES (274637).

UPDATE: On Saturday, NewsManatee was notified that the two men who were arrested in the City of Sarasota home invasion above, were arrested by the Sarasota County Sheriff's office in this incident.]

Detectives Arrest Two for
Vandalism to School;
Seek Third Person

CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- Charlotte County Sheriff’s detectives arrested two and are still looking for a third person involved in damages to Meadow Park Elementary School in Port Charlotte on April 24. Three people climbed up on the roof and broke off 50 lightening rods causing $1,500 in damages.

Above L to R, Blake Flynn and Charles Nelli-Casias

The detectives' investigation led to two suspects who live across from the school at 670 Beeche St. and resulted in the arrest of Blake Reginald Flynn, 17, and 20-year-old Charles Ernest Nelli-Casias.

Detectives said they also found several broken beer bottles on the roof that were submitted to CCSO Crime Scene for fingerprint processing.

Flynn and Nelli-Casias were taken to the Charlotte County Jail on charges of felony Criminal Mischief Over $1,000, and Trespassing on School Property.

Flynn was released to his parents after booking and Nelli-Casias' bond was set at $3,500.

Orlando Radio Personality
Arrested for Shooting Wife, Dog

ORLANDO, Florida [NMT/WKMG] -- A local radio personality has been arrested after police said he shot his wife and dog, Orlando television station WKMG reported.

Shannon Burke, host of The Shannon Burke Show on Real Radio 104.1 WTKS, was arrested Thursday night and charged with Aggravated Battery with a Weapon and Animal Cruelty.

According to the arrest report from the Seminole County Sheriff's Office, Burke got into a verbal argument with his wife, Catherine Burke, Thursday night.

At some point Burke grabbed his 40-caliber handgun from the closet and threatened his wife with it, then, according to the report, he pointed the gun at the couple's dog.

Deputies said the handgun discharged, but did not specify if the shooting was intentional. The bullet went through the dog's leg and hit Catherine Burke in the head.

Shannon Burke was booked into the Seminole County jail and his wife was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries. The dog was also treated for its injuries.

Burke went before a judge on Friday, who set his bond at $10,000. His attorney tried to get the aggravated battery charge dropped, saying the felony crime was an accident.

The prosecution said Burke's wife's sister is afraid and they are not convinced the injury to Catherine Burke was an accident.

Burke is not allowed to have any contact with his wife or go back to his home, once released on bond. He will be monitored by a GPS tracking device.

Burke is on probation for an alcohol related reckless driving charge in Orange County, but he has no criminal history of domestic violence.

Orange County has issued a no bond warrant for his arrest on charges of violating his probation.

He is expected to be transported to the Orange County Jail if he posts bond in Seminole County.

Governor Crist Confirms
Three Swine Flu Cases
in Florida

TALLAHASSEE, Florida [NMT] -- Gov. Charlie Crist said two cases of swine flu in Florida have been confirmed in Florida.

An 11-year-old boy and a 17-year-old girl have been confirmed to have swine flu. The boy attends Spring Creek Elementary School in Lee County, and the girl is a student at Hallandale High School in Broward County.

Governor Charlie Crist has directed State Surgeon General Dr. Ana Viamonte Ros to declare a public health emergency that will allow the State Surgeon General to take any action necessary to protect the public health.

"While we cannot predict the course of this outbreak, we do expect to see more cases over the coming days and weeks," Ross said.

Six other Florida cases, including at least one from Orange County, have been sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for further testing.

Stay with NewsManatee for further updates on the swine flu in Florida.

[Ed. Note: Since the article above was written, Gov. Crist has announced a third case of swine flu has been confirmed; a 14-year-old girl in Orange County, who has returned to Mexico.]



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NewsManatee Archive Created 5/9/2009 2:00:06 PM

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