OMG PD: Sword Attacks, Firefighters Assaulted

We compile the odd, unusual "oh my gosh" police items from throughout the Tampa Bay region.

Samurai Sword Used in Fight Over Drug Money

Samurai swords are normally seen in martial arts movies or hanging over mantle places.

But last week a Largo man allegedly used one to cut and choke someone during a heated dispute over drug money.

According to the Largo Police department, 22-year-old Justin Beckwith got into an argument with an unnamed victim when that person attempted to use Beckwith's money and personal belongings to purchase drugs.

During the argument, Beckwith became so enraged that he grabbed the sword and charged the victim, who suffered a laceration to the right hand in the melee, police said.

A 27-year-old New Port Richey man faces aggravated battery and assault charges after Pasco County Sheriff’s deputies say he used a sword to attack a man he thought raped his girlfriend.

The incident unfolded June 7 around 12:54 a.m. when a sheriff’s office report says Matthew Thomas Howard, 27, of 5418 Portola Ave. texted the victim posing as a woman.

Howard’s girlfriend had told him that she had been raped by the victim. Deputies, however, say that claim turned out to be unfounded and relations between the girlfriend and victim were “consensual.”

Police: Driver Who Punched Rescuer Faces Battery Charge

A Palm Harbor driver faces a battery charge and felony DUI charge, after allegedly punching a fire inspector at the scene of a traffic accident Wednesday, according to Clearwater Police.

According to police, Gary Steven Cook, the driver, then tried to speed away, damaging the pavement when a tire on his vehicle, disabled in the traffic crash, burned a hole in the roadway.

One official with the Clearwater Fire Department said that this is the first time in 20 years of service that he has seen someone accused of striking a firefighter.

Transient Charged With Battery on a Firefighter

A transient man with a history of resisting first responders was arrested and charged with felony battery after he allegedly kicked a Largo firefighter last week.

According to a police report, Largo Fire Department officials responded to a call of a man passed out lying face down on the ground on Indian Rocks Road at around 5:30 p.m. June 7.

Upon arriving at the scene, fire personnel attempted to assist the man, who has been identified as 51-year-old Keith Bradley Winn.

While administrating aid, Winn kicked fireman Tim Burnham, according to authorities.

Sarasota Police Chief Thwarts Suspected Robbers

Sarasota Police Chief Bernadette DiPino is being credited with being in the right place at the right time on Saturday after she caught three people later charged in connection to a strong-arm robbery.

According to a press release, DiPino was off duty and eating lunch with her daughter, Tabitha Hays, a Baltimore County police officer who was in town visiting her mother.

As the pair finished dining, a call came over the radio to be on the lookout for two men and a woman in a blue truck allegedly involved in a robbery that just occurred in the area.

DiPino spotted the suspects' vehicle turning south on to U.S. 41 from 15th Street and pulled behind the truck while calling for backup, according to the release.

Furniture Theft Caught on Video

Sarasota Police released store surveillance video Thursday that shows a man stealing stealing a wicker chair in a burglary of furniture at a local business.

According to police, this burglary occurred sometimes between June 7-8, 2013, in the 3000 block of Fruitville Road in Sarasota. The suspect took two wicker chairs and foot stools from the unidentified business.

Who Defaced Snell Isle Statues?

From Snell Isle Boulevard on a bright afternoon, it is impossible to see what's left of the black paint that marred two historic statues, a bench and a plaque to the neighborhood's founder.

The Tampa Bay Times is reporting that someone tagged the century-old statues last week, and St. Petersburg Police say they may already have leads on the culprits. Police declined to further comment.

On Wednesday, most of the black paint had been cleaned from the statues and memorial. But outlines of the damage were visible.

Ride on Car Hood Leads to Child Abuse Charge

An 18-year-old Dunedin woman faces felony child abuse charges for allowing two juveniles to ride on the hood of a moving car, authorities report.

Jessica Star Bowers of 900 Dumont Drive in Dunedin, is accused of allowing two juveniles, whom she was "supervising," to ride on the hood of a moving vehicle shortly before 2 a.m. Sunday, according to a Pinellas County Sheriffs arrest records.

The juveniles were not harmed, but patrons inside a nearby establishment could hear them screaming, arrest records say.

Deputies: Woman Stole Clothing to Wear for Date

A Palm Harbor woman who's accused of stealing clothing from a Beall's department store told deputies she did it because she wanted to wear the clothes during a date with her boyfriend later that evening.

A video surveillance camera recorded Chelsea Danielle Brill, 22, in the juniors department at the Beall's store at 3140 Tampa Road in Oldsmar just after 5 p.m. on May 30.

When Brill walked into a dressing room, she had nine items. When she left the dressing room she only had five items. Then, when Brill left the store it appeared that her black purse was full. Store security personnel found four pieces of clothing in Brill's purse, according to an arrest affidavit.

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