Tuesday, January 29, 2013
We compile the odd, unusual ‘oh my gosh’ police items from throughout the Tampa Bay region.
- POLICE & FIRE
Tuesday, January 29
A getaway vehicle wasn’t necessary for one Tampa thief. According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, the man swiped a ride from the University Bicycle Center, 1220 Fletcher Ave. E., Temple Terrace, around 4:30 p.m. on Jan. 13. Deputies say the suspect walked into the store, took a seat off a Giant Revel Aluxx 6000 series bicycle, walked past the last point of sale and rode the bike away in a northwest direction. They’re now looking for that man on a grand theft charge. Officials are searching for an inmate who escaped from the Tarpon Springs Work Release Center last Friday. Anthony Pruitt, 22, was last seen at the Brady Road facility around 8:30 p.m., The Tampa Bay Times reports, citing the Tarpon Springs Police Department. A …
Thursday, January 24, 2013
The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said it could be several more weeks before investigators issue their report on the Jan. 2 crash that claimed the life of Bloomingdale High School student Zach McCarthy.
It could be several more weeks before Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office traffic investigators issue a final report on the cause of the crash that killed Bloomingdale High School student Zach McCarthy. Detective Larry McKinnon, spokesman for the sheriff's office, said investigators are looking at all possible causes for the Jan. 2 crash on Natures Way. For more on the interview with McKinnon, visit the Bloomingdale-Riverview Patch. ______________
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
The accident, just east of Bloomingdale Avenue and Bell Shoals Road, involved two Hillsborough school buses traveling about 10 mph, according to a sheriff’s office crash investigator. Minor injuries reportedly sent 11 students to Brandon Regional Hospital
Undercover detectives seized guns from convicted felons and drug dealers operating across the street from Gibsonton Elementary School. Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee discussed “Operation Cease Fire” at a Jan. 15 press conference.
Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee announced the results of a six-month undercover operation that resulted in a wave of arrests of convicted felons who sold guns and drugs across the street from Gibsonton Elementary School. In all, 10 people have been arrested, with arrest warrants issued for three additional people, according to Gee's report, issued at a Jan. 15 press conference (see chart below). Nine of the 13 people netted in the undercover operation were convicted felons, "who sold 29 firearms and 40 silencers to undercover detectives," Gee said. Weapons removed from the street include an AR-15, AK-47 style rifle, 22-caliber rifle with silencer, sawed-off shotguns and sniper-type rifles with night vision. Detectives also …
Here’s the text of the report Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee made at a press conference Jan. 15, about the results of “Operation Cease Fire,” an undercover operation aimed at "taking guns out of the hands of violent felons."
Below is the prepared text from which Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee made his remarks at the Operation Cease Fire press conference on Tuesday, Jan. 15. The text of his speech was released by the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. ______________ It goes without saying that the recent shootings in our country have turned the topic of guns into a national conversation. But here at the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, we have never stopped focusing on one thing when it comes to this issue: taking guns out of the hands of violent felons. In 2010, our agency formed a specialized gun squad out of our Special Investigations Division to focus solely on crimes involving guns and felons in possession of those firearms. The guns you …
Saturday, January 12, 2013
Tampa pilot John M. Murray and his wife, Phyllis, walked away uninjured after their Cessna single-engine aircraft, after takeoff from Tampa's Peter O. Knight Airport, crashed in a cow pasture off Dew Bloom Road in Brandon, near the Valrico border.
Tammy Morningstar was on her way home from the bank when she first spotted the growing presence in her Brandon neighborhood, punctuated by a number of Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office vehicles. “I started freaking out, because my youngest was at home,” she said. “But as I pulled up closer, I saw a plane on the ground and drew a breath of fresh air.” She said she was heartened to learn that the 66-year-old pilot, John M. Murray, and his 63-year-old wife, Phyllis A. Murray, both of 2922 Bayshore Court, Tampa, walked away uninjured. “Apparently, from what I was told, the engine blew, and when the engine blew it blew oil on the windshield and the [the pilot] couldn’t see,’ Morningstar said. “It was a blessing that they landed where they …
Friday, January 11, 2013
Florida Highway Patrol officers during the 2013 holiday crackdown reportedly issued 39,202 traffic citations, cited 13,660 drivers for speeding and arrested 548 people for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. And there’s more.
- PUBLIC SAFETY
Friday, January 11
More than 500 Florida residents will be heading to court this year to face charges of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs following a 2013 holiday crackdown by the Florida Highway Patrol. Col. David Brierton, director of the Florida Highway Patrol, announced the preliminary enforcement results from the patrol’s involvement in the nationwide "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign. The effort ran from Dec. 12 through Jan. 2. To take part in the campaign, the highway patrol beefed up its force by having troopers postpone administrative duties in favor of road patrols and adding reservists and auxiliary troopers to patrol duty. ______________ During the "Drive Sober Or Get Pulled Over" 2013 holiday campaign, troopers: “Our …
A public safety video produced by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office addresses the growing threat of bicycle theft. The office also provides tips for how best to protect your bike.
With the growing popularity of bicycle riding for commuting and recreation comes the growing incidence of bicycle theft, prompting the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office to take action with a public safety campaign aimed to "keep you on your bike and it out of the hands of thieves." That's the message of a video presented by the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, which accompanies a set of tips offered to help stem the rise of bike thefts. To further address the problem, the sheriff's office on Saturday, Jan. 19 is hosting four bicycle registration events throughout the county, including at the Brandon Recreation Center at 510 East Sadie St. "Traditionally, bicycle theft has been viewed by law enforcement as a relatively low …
Thursday, January 10, 2013
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office releases surveillance photos to help capture the man who robbed a Chase bank in Brandon and the SunTrust bank in Seffner on Jan. 9, both within one hour of each other.
A man with a goatee is wanted in the robberies of two banks Jan. 9, starting with a Chase bank in Brandon and ending with the SunTrust bank at 701 West Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in Seffner. According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's report, the first robbery occurred at around 11:48 a.m., when the thief entered the Chase branch at 10943 Causeway Blvd. and gave the teller a note demanding money. "The teller complied and after receiving an undisclosed amount of currency, the suspect fled," the report notes. Then, at around 12:36 p.m., the same robber is believed to have robbed the SunTrust bank in Seffner, again fleeing on foot. The robber is described as follows: ______________ Help Catch A Thief ______________
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
A crack pipe was found in the mouth of a homicide victim in Seffner, according to a report from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. The body was found in a vacant field July 1, 2012, the arrest made Jan. 4, 2013.
David Choppa, 46, has been arrested in the case of a victim found dead in a vacant field in the are of Pine Street and Homerville Lane in Seffner, according to a Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office report. The 60-year-old victim, Stevie Means, reportedly was found with a "crack" pipe in his mouth. The arrest was made Jan. 4, 2013, six months after the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner's Office determined the cause of death as homicidal violence. Detectives discovered the body July 1 at approximately 5:18 p.m. "The deceased was found fully clothed and with a 'crack' pipe in his mouth," according to the report. Means reportedly suffered upper-body trauma. Choppa, of 1151 Oakhill St. in Seffner, was arrested to face charges of second-…