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~ LOCAL/STATE NEWS ~

An arrest means only that a law enforcement officer attests there is probable cause to reasonably believe that a crime has been committed. An arrestee is presumed innocent until proved guilty in a court of law.

~~~~~~~~~~

Week of November 24, 2014 - December 1, 2014

NOTICE
Crime Doesn't Stop Around the Holidays,
But We Do...Our Next Edition Will Be
on December 1st...In the Meantime,
Enjoy Our Non-Crime Pages.

Happy Thanksgiving!

~ Tuesday's Local/State News ~

Bradenton Firefighter Shot,
Killed by Bradenton Police
Officer after He Pointed a
Gun at Cop, Report Says

BRADENTON, Florida [NMT] -- An officer with the Bradenton Police Department, Jason Nuttall, has shot and killed Bradenton Firefighter Donald R. Wendt.


On Sunday, November 23th, the Bradenton Police Department was contacted regarding a disturbance in the 3300 Block of Oxford Drive West, Bradenton.

As officers were en route, dispatch updates indicated that a male was suicidal and possibly armed with a handgun.

Officers arrived and found the armed man outside the home, and he retreated inside the home.

Officers set a perimeter and evacuated nearby homes.

Bradenton Police SWAT and Hostage Negotiation Team members arrived and were preparing to make contact with the male via phone when he emerged from the home and pointed his firearm at officers.

The male was shot and killed by Bradenton Police SWAT Officer Jason Nuttall. Officer Nuttall is a 15 year veteran of the Bradenton Police Department.

The deceased is identified as Donald R. Wendt, 50 years of age, of Bradenton.

Mr. Wendt was employed as a Bradenton Fire Department Firefighter/Engineer at the time of his death.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the shooting as is protocol for officer-involved shootings in the City of Bradenton.

Any further questions should be directed to FDLE Public Information Officer Samantha Andrews at (850) 410-7250.

Bradenton Fire Department Chief Charles Edwards sent a press release that said "The City of Bradenton Fire Department stands with the entire City of Bradenton family in tremendous grief at the loss of one of our own, Firefighter Donald "Donnie" Wendt, on November 23, 2014. There are no words sufficient to express the profound sadness that the BFD family feels, though our anguish certainly cannot compare to what Donnie's family is experiencing.

Donnie had great passion for the fire service, which began while in the military. After his service, he was a volunteer firefighter with Cedar Hammock-Southern Manatee while working at Ten-8 Fire Equipment. He joined the BFD in December 2003 and, less than a year later, he was sent to Iraq for 13 months with the United States Army Reserve. He returned to the department and promoted through the ranks to Firefighter/Engineer.

At this time, the department has no further information to share and will not be making any comments. We do ask that you respect all those impacted by this tragic situation, and thank all those who have expressed their concern during this difficult time."


Manatee County Jail
Escaped Inmate Still
at Large


MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office reported an inmate has escaped from the Manatee County Jail.


Meren Thompson

A sheriff's report said at approximately 2:20 Sunday afternoon, Nov. 23rd, deputies responded to search for an inmate who walked away from the inmate farm at the Manatee Correctional Complex, north of Palmetto.

The inmate is Meren Thompson, 43 years old. He is 5'10", 180 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes.

He was serving time for Contempt of Court from a Domestic Battery charge. He was working at the inmate farm when he escaped.

Detectives believe that Thompson was involved in a carjacking approximately four miles north of the inmate farm in Hillsborough County. Thompson may be driving the stolen 1997 Ford F150 pickup truck, blue in color, with a Vermont tag.

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, click here, or text MCSTIPS plus your message to 274637 (CRIMES).

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


Attempted Robbery by Three
Foiled by Manager of Hooters;
All Three Taken into Custody

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office has arrested Christopher Reif, 22, Fernando Lopez, 21, and Alberto Lara, 20 years old.


Christopher Reif, Fernando Lopez and Alberto Lara

A sheriff's report said Noah Jarvis, 32, was sitting at an outside table at Hooters, 4908 14th Street West, Bradenton, with his family.

The suspects walked up to the victim's table. Noah and the three suspects began exchanging words with each other.

Christopher grabbed Noah's arm in an attempt to forcefully take his cell phone.

The males began punching him but Noah was able to retain his property.

Roger Ferris, 60, who was another patron in the establishment, got involved and attempted to pull the males off of the victim.

The suspects knocked Roger to the ground and began beating him.

The suspects then left the area but were chased by the manager. The males stopped in the parking lot, turned around, and confronted the manager, Douglas Jensen, 56, threatening to beat him up too. The manager, fearing for his safety, retreated into the restaurant and law enforcement was notified.

Deputies responded and located the suspects a short time later.

The suspects were positively identified, arrested and charged accordingly.

Noah was transported to Manatee Memorial Hospital for treatment and Roger declined EMS treatment.

The three men remain in the Manatee County Jail without bond at this time.


Woman Wanted $100 Each for
Two Undercover Detectives
for "Time Spent with Her"


MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office has arrested Melissa A. Baum, 32, of the 7200 block of North Tamiami Trail, Bradenton.


Melissa Baum

The arrest report said on Thursday, Nov. 20th, two undercover detective attached to the Special Investigations Division Tactical Unit were patrolling the streets of Manatee County, posing as "Johns" in an attempt to arrest prostitutes.

At about 4 p.m., they spotted Baum walking at Tallevast and U.S.41.

They made contact and Baum agreed to give one of the detectives oral sex and a strip show for $100. She told the other detective it would cost him $100 for sex.

She was arrested and charged with misdemeanor Prostitution.

She remains in the Manatee County Jail on a bail bond of $120.


Man Arrested for Theft of Over
$500 from Walmart Store


MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office has arrested Caleb Mac Helm, 27, of the 1200 block of 57th Street East, Bradenton.


Caleb Helm

The arrest report said on Saturday, Nov. 22nd, at about 11 a.m., Helm entered the Walmart store located at 6225 State Road 64 East, Bradenton.

He proceeded to select items later totaling $557.32 and attempted to leave the store without paying for them.

Loss prevention personnel stopped him from leaving outside the store.

Helm admitted to a deputy that he took the items. He said he went to the store to get a movie, then got stupid and started selecting things. He said he was being stupid and is going through some tough times.

He was charged with Grand Theft Shoplifting, a felony.

He later posted a $750 bail bond and was released from the Manatee County Jail.


SPD Detectives Looking to
Identify Burglary Suspect

SARASOTA, Florida [NMT] -- Detectives with the Sarasota Police Department are asking for the public’s assistance in identifying a burglary suspect who stole a specialized Stump Jumper FSR bicycle, blue and gray in color, from the Alinari Condominiums, 800 North Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, on November 17, 2014.


Above, a bicycle lookalike

On video, which can be viewed at http://youtu.be/ox3C_NYzeLA the suspect is seen entering the parking garage through a gate. The suspect is then seen leaving on the stolen bicycle a short time later.

The suspect is seen on video returning the next day but left the area and its unknown if any property was taken at this time.


Anyone with information is encouraged to call Detective Darrell Nixon at 941-954-7078 or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers by calling 941-366-TIPS (8477) or online at www.sarasotacrimestoppers.com.


CCSO: Arrest Made in
Pharmacy Burglary


CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- Charlotte County Sheriff's detectives arrested a Port Charlotte man early Thursday morning, Nov. 20th, in connection with the attempted burglary of Charlotte Pharmacy that occurred the previous week.


Levi Jones

Levi Wayne Jones, 31, of 19094 Helena Avenue in Port Charlotte, was charged with Attempted Burglary of an Unoccupied Structure on November 20. He had been arrested the previous day on charges of Dealing in Stolen Property in a separate, unrelated case.

On Thursday November 13, the owner of Charlotte Pharmacy, located at 3231 Tamiami Trail in Port Charlotte, reported that someone had attempted to break into their building. The victim provided detectives with security footage that showed a While male, dressed in full military-style camouflage fatigues, trying to pry open the rear business door.

On November 19, detectives released a still image from the video surveillance to the public and, as a result, received information naming Jones as the person in the photo. The witness said that Jones had been staying with a friend in the North Port area.

When detectives spoke with the friend in North Port, she identified Jones as the person wearing the camouflage clothing in the photo and video. She also implicated Jones in a theft she had reported to North Port authorities on November 13 in which her wedding ring set was taken from her house.

Charlotte County detectives located a pawn transaction in which Jones sold two rings to a local business. The North Port victim positively identified the rings at the pawn shop as her stolen rings.

Detectives arrested Jones on Wednesday November 19 on the Dealing in Stolen Property charges.

As a result of their investigation, detectives got a search warrant for Jones’ residence and located camouflage clothing that appeared to match what was seen in the surveillance video. They also located work boots and steel crow bars. They charged Jones with the attempted burglary.

Jones is being held at the Charlotte County Jail on a total $30,000 bond.


Daytona Beach Top Cop
Find His Tires Slashed


DAYTONA BEACH, Florida [NMT/WKMG] -- Daytona Beach Police Chief Mike Chitwood says his tires were slashed in the middle of the day on Sunday, Orlando television station WKMG reported.

Chitwood says both passenger side tires were slashed.

Chitwood says it's not the first attack on his car. The chief says his tires were slashed twice on Christmas a few years ago.

He also says his car has been keyed and covered with what appeared to be a loaded baked potato from a fast-food restaurant.

Chitwood says he filed a police report but there aren't any suspects at this time, WKMG said.


 

~ Monday's Local/State News ~

Man with Grudge Throws
Beer Bottle Through Window
of Bedroom of 2 Under 4 yoa

PALMETTO, Florida [NMT] -- The Palmetto Police Department has arrested Santana Molina-Diaz, 35, of 506 14th Street West, Palmetto.


Santana Molina-Diaz

The arrest report said on Thursday, No. 20th, at about 12:10 a.m., the parents of two children under the age of 4 were in their bedroom when they heard the sound of glass breaking in the childrens' room.

They immediately entered the room and discovered that a glass beer bottle had just been thrown through the closed window.

The bottle punctured through the window and the bottle shattered on the floor. There was also glass on the bed where the children were sleeping.

The 2-year-old child got out of the bed and cut his foot on a piece of glass.

The parents immediately looked out the window and saw Santanao standing outside alone.

He began taunting the mother in front of the children, calling her "puta" and yelling that she is the "neighborhood whore."

Santana admitted to the woman he was the one who threw the bottle.

Santana told police he threw the bottle because he was drunk, and that he is aware that children reside somewhere inside the residece. He was uncooperative with police.

He also said he has a grudge against the parents, because "the father fought Santana's nephew a week earlier."

Santana was arrested and charged with Throwing a Deadly Missile.

He posted a $7,500 bail bond and was released from the Manatee County Jail.


Woman Placed in Full Restraints
after Kicking, Punching Officer

BRADENTON, Florida [NMT] -- The Bradenton Police Department has arrested Dianna Louise Paul, 39, of 1515 9th Avenue West, Bradenton.


Dianna Paul

A sheriff's report said on Wednesday, Nov. 11th, at about 3:45 p.m., an officer attempted to place Dianna into protective custody as per the Marchman Act.

Dianna pulled away from the officer's arm. Upon grabbing Dianna's arm again, she flailed her arms and struck the officer in the face.

Dianna continued to flail her arms and continued to kick the officer, the report said.

Then Dianna pulled the officer's radio microphone from his shirt and she ripped his badge off.

Despite several commands to stop resisting, Dianna continued to kick her feet upward, kicking him in the chest and neck area.

The officer was able to retrieve his radio mic and radioed for backup from additional units.

By the time the units arrived, the officer had Dianna pinned so she was not able to hit or kick him.

After additional units arrived and put Dianna in a cruiser, she continued to kick at the doors and windows. She was removed from the cruiser and leg restraints were also applied, in addition to the handcuffs.

She was charged with Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer and Depriving a Law Enforcement Officer of Means of Communication.

She remains in the Manatee County Jail on a $13,000 bail bond.


Man Arrested for Driving
Stolen Vehicle


MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office has arrested Lashay Smith, 42, of 5717 11th Street East, Bradenton.


Lashay Smith

The arrest report said on Friday, Nov. 21st, at about midnight, a car listed on a stolen cars report passed by a deputy who was sitting at the intersection of Cortez Road West and 19th Street West.

The deputy followed it until it pulled into a driveway in the 4400 block of 19th Street Circle West.

he passed by the address and went to the end of the street, where he sat, waiting for the occupants of the vehicle to come out to the vehicle. Meanwhile, he began to set up other deputies to surround the vehicle when it departed.

The vehicle departed and they missed it, but a little later the vehicle was located at McDonalds restaurant, 4711 14th Street West.

Wen Lashay and his underage girlfriend came out and got into the vehicle, deputies surrounded it.

Lashay was arrested and charged with Grand Theft Auto.

He posted a bail bond of $1,500 and was released from the Manatee County Jail.


Bealls Employee Arrested
for Grand Theft by
Embezzlement


MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office has arrested Fadaa Samad, 19, of the 4500 block of Egmont Drive, Bradenton.


Fadaa Samad

The arrest report said as of on or about Tuesday, Nov. 18th, Samad was working as a cashier for the Bealls store located at 7365 52nd Place East, Bradenton.

She had been observed by loss prevention giving un-authorized discounts to customers, namely two of her relatives.

When she was confronted on the 18th, she admitted to the thefts, which totaled $1,295.98.

A video and receipts of the transactions were entered into evidence at the sheriff's office.

Samad was charged with Grand Theft by Embezzlement.

She later posted a bail bond of $1,500 and was released from the Manatee County Jail.


Man Shot by Another;
Circumstances Unknown

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office reported a shooting that occurred on Saturday, Nov. 22nd, at about 1:30 p.m., in the 4200 block of 9th Street East, Bradenton.


A sheriff's report said the victim, Thomas Evrage, 24, was in front of a residence when he was shot by an unknown subject.

The victim was transported to a local hospital where he’s listed in stable condition. The report did not say where Everage was shot on his body, or how many times.

Evrage was in the neighborhood working when the shooting occurred.

Witnesses report hearing gunshots and seeing numerous people in the area at the time of the shooting.

The investigation continues.

There was no description of the shooter in the report.

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, click here, or text MCSTIPS plus your message to 274637 (CRIMES).

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


Couple Gives Man a Ride,
Robs Him


MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office reported an armed robbery that occurred on Friday, Nov. 21st at about 11 a.m., at Casa Loma Mobile Home Park, 208 52nd Avenue Plaza East, Bradenton.


A sheriff's report said the victim, Marvin Toney, of 3715 14th Street West, Bradenton, was being driven home by the two suspects just shortly after meeting them for the first time.

While en route the suspect informed the victim that he needed to make a quick stop and pulled into the MHP.

The suspect exited the vehicle and shortly returned brandishing a firearm.

The suspect demanded the victim's money and stole $250 off the victim's person.

The victim was not injured.

The suspect fled in the vehicle.

The suspects were only described as a Black male and a White female, driving a silver SUV.

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, click here, or text MCSTIPS plus your message to 274637 (CRIMES).

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


BPD Burglary Case Solved,
Three Warrants Served,
Man in Custody


BRADENTON, Florida [NMT] -- The Bradenton Police Department wad an open warrant for a man involved in a burglary that occurred on January 24th. The burglar took an iPad and sold it for $50.

Then, he was also charged on two warrants. One was for Uttering a False Instrument. The other was for Grand Theft Shoplifting.

Finally, he was taken into custody on Thursday, Nov. 20th and charged with the three crimes' warrants for his arrest for Contempt of Court.

He later posted a $4,500 bail bond and was released from the Manatee County Jail.


Man Loses Life in Near
Head-On Collision


MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Florida Highway Patrol reported a fatal collision between a vehicle and a semi-trailer that occurred on Friday, Nov. 21st, at about 10 p.m., on State Road 70 and Myakka Wauchula Road, in East Manatee County.

The FHP report said a 2009 Toyota, being driven by Matthew E. Doris, 56, of Bradenton, was eastbound on State Road 70, approaching its intersection with Myakka Wauchula Road.

A 1999 Freightliner, being driven by Roman Perez Raya, 23, of Arcadia, was westbound on State Road 70 approaching the same intersection.

However, the Toyota was now traveling eastbound in the westbound lane.

The freightliner's driver applied its brakes and swerved to the right to avoid the collision.

The Toyota's left side struck the freightliner's left side.

Matthew Doris was pronounced dead at the scene.


SPD Reports Hit-and-Run
with Injuries

SARASOTA, Florida [NMT] -- Officers with the Sarasota Police Department are investigating a serious injury hit and run crash that occurred shortly before midnight, Friday evening, Nov. 21st.

(photo)

An unnamed woman in her 40's was struck by a vehicle near the intersection of Fruitville Road and Orange Avenue in Sarasota. The vehicle was last seen heading west on Fruitville Road.

The woman was transported by Bayflight medical helicopter to Blake Medical Center in Bradenton with serious injuries.

The vehicle is described as a dark blue colored BMW 2012-2013 with damage to the front end and missing a passenger side mirror.

Anyone with any information or was near the scene of the accident is asked to contact Officer Tim Bales at 941-316-1199.


Homeless Man Tried to Rob Bank
to Escape Cold, Police Say


ORLANDO, Florida [NMT/WKMG] -- Police say a homeless man in Orlando tried to rob a bank to escape the cold, Orlando television station WKMG reported.

Police arrested 58-year-old Rodney Cameron on Tuesday as temperatures in Orlando dipped to record lows.

Police said he tried to rob Bank United on Central Boulevard by handing the teller a note that said, "This is a bank robbery. I need 5-100s 5-50s 10-20s. Give me the money. I will sit outside until the police show up."

And he did.

He waited on a lobby chair and when cops arrived he said, "I am tired of the street life and want a warm place to stay."

Cameron even told the teller why he committed the crime, saying he was "tired of being bothered with medical problems and he needed help."

Homeless men and women said they've seen Cameron around the Coalition for the Homeless shelter, where he told police was his last address.

Orlando police spokeswoman Lt. Lovetta Quinn-Henry said, "It is very common to see people commit less offensive crimes to escape cold weather. It's not very common to see them commit a bank robbery to escape the weather or street living."

"It's a bit extreme but at the same time, he did what he had to do to achieve his goal. It's sad but that's just the way it is, it's reality," said Lasonya Caldwell, who also spends cold nights at the homeless shelter. "Some people don't have any other alternative."

"I don't think anyone should have to go through those extremes to have a place to rest, just to get out of the elements," Douglas Caldwell said.

Muffet Robinson, with the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida, said, "We don't know enough to comment specifically, but it shows the desperate measures that desperate people will go to. That's why we know how much our services are needed in our community."

It's unclear if Cameron has he ever done anything like this before. Records show he has never been arrested in Florida, but he went to prison previously in Indiana.

Now, he will likely face prison time again, WKMG said.


 

~ Friday's Local/State News ~

Man Runs Red Light, Flees
Deputy, Busted for Felony
DUI, Felony DWLS, Holding
Controlled Substance, No
Vehicle Registration

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office has arrested James Craig Keck, 57, who listed his residential addresses as 5621 Gristmill Street and 806 84th Street NW, both in Bradenton.


James Keck

Keck was stopped for exhibiting signs of impaired driving to include running a red light.

Upon being stopped, the driver emitted a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage when he spoke.

He argued with Dep. Bill Coleman who then asked for his license.

Keck reached as if he was getting his license, but then stopped. He looked at the deputy and stated "You're just going to have to chase me."

He fled east on Cortez Rd. from 75th St. W. not exceeding 65 mph. He then drove north onto Palma Sola Blvd. at speeds not exceeding 45 mph. He then drove across Manatee Ave, north onto 75th St. W. and then east onto 9th Ave NW at speeds not exceeding 55 mph.

Keck then turned onto 84th St. NW to address 806 where he parked his car at what he said was his residence.

He exited the vehicle and assumed a prone position.

He was taken into custody with no damage or injury to anything or anyone.

This is his 3rd or subsequent DUI arrest, making it a felony. He was also in possession of a controlled substance. The vehicle was unregistered. He refused to provide a breath sample. His license was also suspended to the point that this is a felony offense as well.

Keck racked up a number of charges and later posted a bail bond of $6,620. He was then released from the Manatee County Jail.


Man, Already in Jail on
Unrelated Charges, Busted
for Forging Mom's Checks


MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office has arrested Quinn Mora, 40, of Sunset Village Adult Community, 3715 14th Street West, lot 108, Bradenton. Mora was already in jail on unrelated charges.


Quinn Mora

The arrest report said on October 10th, Quinn's mother contacted the sheriff's office regarding some checks belonging to her that she said her son, Quinn, had forged.

Sheila Mora, 65, said Quinn had taken 3 checks, filled them out, signed her name and cashed the checks. She said she was notified by the Bank of America branch in Palmetto when Quinn was trying to cash one of them.

The checks he cashed were:

$180, check #1423, made out to Quinn Mora
$400, check #1425, made out to Quinn Mora
$40, check 1526, made out to Quinn Mora

Quinn, who was arrested on Nov. 15th on Violation of Probation charges, agreed to speak to a sheriff's detective at the jail.

He denied that he had forged the checks, saying they were for auto parts that he purchased to work on Sheila's car. He said Sheila gave them to him.

He also said Sheila is trying to get him into rehab and by filing a fraud report with the bank, she may get court-ordered rehab.

Quinn, who has an arrest record dating back to 1995, remains in the Manatee County Jail without bond at this time.


Shooting Reported;
One in Custody

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office reported a shooting that occurred on Thursday, Nov. 20th, at about 1:15 p.m., at 3503 51st Street East, Bradenton.


Shaun Wear

Upon arrival of deputies, they learned that the victim, Josh Bradley, 37, had been shot by Shaun Wear, 32.

Bradley and Wear were in a confrontation before the shooting and detectives are trying to determine what caused the confrontation.

The two subjects are acquaintances and Wear lives at the location of the shooting.

Bradley was shot in the ankle and was transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Wear was arrested for Aggravated Battery with a Firearm.

He remains in custody at the Manatee County Jail at this time.


Bradenton Teen T-Bones VW,
Two Dead, 1 Serious Condition


MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Florida Highway Patrol reported a fatal collision that occurred on Thursday, Nov. 20th, at about 2 a.m., on 53rd Avenue West at 26th Street West, Bradenton.


The FHP report said a 2003 Ford Explorer, being driven by Emerson Herrera, 16, of Bradenton, was traveling northbound in the left lane on 26th Street West, approaching the red traffic signal at 53rd Avenue West.

A 2012 Volkswagen Passat, being driven by Gabriella Longpre, 22, of Venice, was traveling westbound in the right lane on 53rd Avenue West, approaching the green traffic signal at 26th Street West.

Herrera failed to stop for the red traffic signal and the front of the Ford struck the left side of the VW.

After the collision, both vehicles rotated counterclockwise and both traveled in a northwesterly direction on 26th Street West.

The Ford came to final rest facing southeasterly on the northwest corner on 52nd Avenue Terrace West.

The VW came to final rest facing easterly on the west grass shoulder of 26th Street West.

Both Longpre and her passenger, Jessica Costanzo, 23, also of Venice, died at the scene.

Herrera sustained serious injuries and was taken to Manatee Memorial Hospital.

Charges are pending blood alcohol tests on all three.


Two Dead, Two Critical,
One Serious Condition
after Head-On Crash
in Parrish


MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Florida Highway Patrol reported fatal collision that occurred on Wednesday, Nov. 19th, at about 8:15 p.m., on County Road 675 at Spencer Parrish Road, in Bradenton.


The FHP report said a 2013 Chevy Ram, being driven by Brody McClelland Catt, 32, of Parrish, was westbound on County Road 675 approaching the intersection with Spencer Parrish Road.

Meanwhile, a 2001 Chevy Impala, being driven by Sean Barrett, 19, of Bradenton and a 2005 Infinity G35, being driven by Darren Foster, 22, of Parrish, were eastbound on County Road
675 approaching the intersection with Spencer Parrish Road. The Infinity was behind the Chevy.

The Chevy Ram failed to yield the right of way to the Chevy Impala and attempted to make a left turn in front of the Impala to head southbound on Spencer Parrish Road.

The front of the Chevy Ram collided with the front of the Chevy Impala.

This impact caused the Chevy Ram to rotate counterclockwise. The Chevy Impala rotated clockwise into the southern grassy shoulder.

The driver of the Infinity steered to the left to avoid a collision with both Chevy's.

The front of the Infinity then collided with the rear right side of the Chevy Ram. The Ram came to final rest on the northern grassy shoulder of County Road 675 facing in a southeasterly direction.

The Chevy Impala came to final rest on the southern grassy shoulder of County Road 675 facing in a southerly direction.

The Infinity came to final rest on County Road 675 facing in a northeasterly direction.

Both the Driver and the front seat passenger of the Chevy Impala, Sean Barrett and Amber France, 18, both of Bradenton, were pronounced dead at the scene.

The two back seat passengers of the Impala, Nicholas Watson, 33, of Sarasota, and Lee Edington, 19, of Bradenton, were transported to a local hospital in critical condition; the hospital was Blake Medical Center.

The driver of the Chevy Ram, McClelland, sustained serious injuries and was taken to Blake Medical Center for treatment.

The driver of the Infinity sustained only minor injuries and was treated at the scene.

McClelland was the only one not wearing a seat belt; he was also the only one listed in the crash report as "alcohol related."

Charges are pending.


IRS Scam Reported
in Manatee County

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office is once again warning citizens to be aware of a scam involving a fraudulent telephone call from someone claiming to be with the Internal Revenue Service.

MSO has received multiple calls the last several days from citizens reporting the scam.

The suspect claims to be an IRS agent and tells the person they owe money and they will be arrested if they don't pay.

The IRS does not operate in this manner and will not contact people over the phone.

If you experience this type of phone call, consider it a scam and report it to law enforcement.


Sarasota Bank Robbery
Reported; Suspect
Now in Custody

SARASOTA COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office has arrested a career criminal in connection with this morning's robbery at the Bank of America, 1140 N. Tamiami Trail in Nokomis.


Daniel Sandefur

Around 10:00 a.m., the suspect handed the teller a note and fled the scene on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash. Deputies obtained a surveillance photo of the suspect and he was quickly identified as Daniel Sandefur, 39, of no permanent address.

Deputies maintained a presence in the area and a detective spotted Sandefur near the Sunoco around 12:30 p.m., less than a mile south of the bank. The suspect fled toward The Inlets, a neighborhood with canals leading to Lyons Bay. The Tactical Unit, Marine Unit K-9 and Air-1 joined the search and Sandefur was taken into custody around 1:45 p.m., behind a home in a heavily wooded area at the end of Sago Lane.

Sandefur was just released from prison in August after serving more than six years for Cocaine Possession. He has an extensive criminal history with more than 25 arrests for crimes including Occupied Residential Burglary, Robbery and Grand Theft Auto.

During questioning, Sandefur admitted to the crime.

He was booked into the Sarasota County Jail and charged with Armed Robbery.


6 Teens Arrested for Alleged
Gang Rape Near High School

WINTER SPRINGS, Florida [NMT/WKMG] -- Orlando television station WKMG reported six teens between 16 to 18 years old have been arrested in the alleged gang rape of a 16-year-old girl near Winter Springs High School, police announced on Wednesday.

Tywuan Johnson, 17, of Sanford; Torreano Batton, 18, of Sanford; Josea Sims, 17, of Sanford; Deoante Stewart, 17, of Sanford; Marquis Pierre, 16, of Winter Springs; and Tobert Alexander, 16, of Sanford; were all arrested on charges of sexual battery and false imprisonment.

Police said the assault occurred on Thursday between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. in a wooded area near Winter Springs High School, near State Road 434 and Tuscawilla Road.

The arrest report, which was released Wednesday night, states that the victim went to cut through the woods with Batton to get something to eat when Johnson and Pierre decided to join them.

In the woods, the victim said all three demanded she perform sexual acts on them, refusing to let her go. She said she complied and continued on to the nearby McDonald's.

When she returned alone, she said Johnson pulled her back into the woods where all six teens were waiting for her. She said they forced her to perform sexual acts on them while two of them had sexual intercourse with her.

Winter Springs police said she managed to record part of the ordeal on her iPod. The video shows several black males asking for sex in the woods.

Police said investigators can clearly hear her say, "No," and, "I want to go back to school."

The victim left the scene and told her parents, which sparked a week-long investigation.

"Before this police department goes and puts handcuffs on anybody for something that's going to follow them, particularly for the rest of their lives, we need to make damn sure it occurred, or at least that we have enough probable cause that it occurred," said Winter Springs Police Chief Kevin Brunelle.

All six teenagers were jailed and will make their first court appearance Thursday. Batton has a criminal record that includes arrests on charges of aggravated battery on a person over the age of 65, molesting a 12-year-old and possession of marijuana.

Seminole County Public Schools said it could not comment on any discipline the students may face.

"School officials have been notified by the Winter Springs Police Department of the arrest of several young men. We cannot be specific as to any action taken by the school due to student confidentiality. Additionally, the school system has appropriate programs in place to meet the needs of any affected students," a representative with SCPS said.

Dr. Mickey Reynolds, the principal of Winter Springs High School, posted a letter Monday on the school's website stating, "If any WSHS students are arrested and charged with a crime, we will react swiftly in accordance with our district discipline policy."

"Prior to making these arrests, the Winter Springs Police Department painstakingly processed relevant facts, evidence and conducted interviews with several people to determine that solid and proper charges were filed against those allegedly responsible for this crime," the police agency said in a news release.

 

~ Thursday's Local/State News ~

Girl, 14, Forcibly Raped
by Man, 23, Known to Her,
Manatee Detective Charges

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office reported a forcible rape that resulted in the arrest of Wesley Renne Rosas Sanchez, 23, of 1011 35th Avenue Drive East, Bradenton.


Wesley Rosas Sanchez

According to the arrest report, on Monday, Nov. 10th, at about 8:15 p.m., the mother of the unnamed 14-year-old victim in this case brought her to the sheriff's office to report that her daughter had been forcibly sexually battered on or about August 16th.

During the initial interview, the victim disclosed that she had been raped by her aunt's brother-in-law who was known to her. She said his name was Wesley Rosas Sanchez.

The juvenile victim said she was at her aunt's house in the 3500 block of 9th Street East, Bradenton, on August 16th watching her two cousins while her aunt was out shopping for a birthday party that was being held later in the day at that address.

Sometime during the afternoon, Wesley knocked on the front door and told the victim he was there to borrow a "barber kit" to cut his hair.

The victim did not know where it was in the house, so she let Wesley into the house to retrieve the barber equipment.

The victim's phone had a low battery, so she went back to her younger cousin's room to retrieve it. As she walked into the bedroom, she noticed that Wesley followed behind her and was now in the room as well. She said that Wesley closed the door and locked it behind him.

The victim said that Wesley told her "take your clothes off." She told him "no" at which time Wesley pushed her to the bed ad forcefully removed the girl's pants and underwear.

She told him "no" again and was attempting to push him away but could not.

Wesley then penetrated her vagina with his penis and began having forced sex with the juvenile girl, the report said.

The victim said she is unsure if he used a condom and that the act lasted approximately 10 minutes. She said she believed he did not ejaculate during the forced sex.

She said that her younger cousin began to yell and scream in the living room and she used that opportunity to get away. She grabbed her clothes and left the room. Then she grabbed the 1-year-old cousin who was crying.

About two minutes later, she saw Wesley emerge from the room dressed. He left the house without saying anything.

The victim said she told her aunt about a month ago about the incident but asked her not to say anything to anyone. She was then gone for 4 weeks to Puerto Rico and arrived back in Florida the day before the interview at the sheriff's office.

A controlled phone call was set up during which Wesley admitted to the victim's father that he did indeed have sex with his daughter.

Wesley was charged with Sexual Battery on a Minor Over 12 with Force, No Damage.

He remains in the Manatee County Jail without a bail bond.


Man, 39, Accused of Lewd
& Lascivious Molestation
of Girl 12-16 Years Old

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office has arrested Juan Antonio Cruz, 39, of 507 59th Avenue Terrace West, Bradenton.


Juan Cruz

The arrest report said on Sunday, Nov. 16th, at about 1 a.m., at the above location, Cruz used his hand and touched the right breast outside the shirt of a girl, 12-16 years old.

He further grabbed her inner thigh close to her groin area.

She told deputies in her interview that she felt very uncomfortable during the incident.

The report said Cruz was told numerous times to stop by witnesses who were present at the time.

Cruz had been charged with Lewd & Lascivious Molestation of a Minor, 12-16 Years Old, and Resisting Arrest without Violence.

He later posted a bail bond of $8,000 and was released from the Manatee County Jail.


Man Wakes Woman by
Sucking on Her Toes;
Masturbates in Doorway


MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office has arrested Ricky Joe Stewart, 59, of 1704 36th Avenue West, Bradenton.


Ricky Stewart

The arrest report said on Friday, Nov. 14th, at about 8:30 a.m., the unnamed pregnant victim in this case was awakened by Stewart sucking on her toes, unwanted by her; she was only wearing a towel.

The woman screamed and told Stewart to get off of her and kicked at him.

The next day, Saturday, Nov. 15th, Stewart was shining a red light under the victim's door.

The victim opened the bedroom door and Stewart was completely naked and masturbating in her doorway.

The report said both of the incidents made the victim very uncomfortable and she does not feel safe in the residence.

Stewart was arrested on Nov. 16th and charged with Domestic Battery/Offender Should Have Known Victim was Pregnant, and Exposure of Sexual Organs.

He remains in the Manatee County Jail under a $1,500 bail bond.


Man Shot in Chest During
Altercation at Night Club

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office reported a shooting with injuries that occurred on Wednesday, Nov. 19th at about 3 a.m., outside "A Touch of Class" night club, 5131 14th Street West, Bradenton.


Above, the victim, Dennis Smalls, Jr.

A sheriff's report said the victim in this case, Dennis Smalls, Jr., 37, was at the listed establishment when he became involved in a physical altercation with other unidentified individuals.

The altercation spilled out into the parking lot where several shots were fired.

Dennis was struck once in the upper left chest area.

Another round struck an unoccupied vehicle parked in the parking lot.

Dennis was transported to Blake Medical Center for treatment of his bullet wound. His condition as last reported was listed as "stable," according to Dave Bristow, spokesman for the sheriff's office. Bristow told NewsManatee "stable" usually means not life-threatening.

The investigation is ongoing.


Caution Advised Due to Erosion
at Caspersen Beach in Venice

SARASOTA COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- Residents and visitors are advised that Caspersen Beach in Venice is experiencing erosion due to natural tidal changes and recent storms, but the beach remains open to the public.


Above, Casperson Beach, Venice

Caution signs have been placed at the beach, 4100 Harbor Dr., Venice, in an effort to ensure the public's safety. The boardwalks and stairs are still accessible, according to Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources staff.

"Although beach conditions are always naturally changing, we are lucky to have a wide range of world-class beaches to enjoy," said Virginia Haley, president of Visit Sarasota County.

Caspersen Beach is home to nature trails that travel through freshwater and saltwater marshes, mangrove areas and tidal flats and provide excellent opportunities for wildlife viewing.

It is open year-round, with parking available from 6 a.m. to midnight.


SSO Warns Citizens
About IRS Scam

SARASOTA COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office is again warning citizens to be cautious about telephone scams, this time, it's one commonly known as the "IRS Scam."

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued warnings about this scam for more than a year, but unfortunately some citizens are not aware of it, or when they receive similar calls, aren't sure what to believe or not.

According to the IRS, con artists claiming to be IRS employees sound convincing and use fake names and bogus IRS ID badge numbers when they call. They may know details about the victim or trick them into revealing private information. Some scammers alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS. The victim is told they owe money to the IRS that must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate they are threatened with arrest or other legal ramifications. If the victim isn't home, the scammer might even leave an "urgent" callback message.

The IRS wants citizens to know that a true investigation or lawsuit by the IRS will be handled in person or through certified mail. They also want all instances reported directly to the IRS because this scam involves the impersonation of an IRS employee. Citizens can visit www.treasury.gov/tigta for more information or file a complaint using this direct link. Finally if you know or think you might owe taxes, call the IRS directly at 1-800-829-1040.


CCSO Seeks IDs in
Two Burglary Cases


CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- Charlotte County Sheriff's Office District detectives are asking for the public’s assistance in identifying and locating one, or possibly two, men in connection with two different business burglaries that occurred last week in Port Charlotte.


Above, a burglary suspect

Overnight, between Wednesday November 12 and Thursday November 13, a man wearing what appears to be a full set of military style digi-camouflage fatigues used a crowbar to break into the rear of Charlotte Pharmacy, located at 3231 Tamiami Trail in Port Charlotte, at about 3:00 am. As soon as the business’s alarm sounded, the man ran away.

Detectives are also looking for a man who was seen riding a bicycle in the area of Upper Cutz Barber Shop, located at 2395 Tamiami Trail in Port Charlotte, that same night. The man was wearing shorts, a gray hoodie, a ball cap and sneakers.

Anyone with information concerning the identity of either of these men is asked to please contact the Sheriff’s Office at (941) 639-2101 (ask for District Detectives), or Crime Stoppers at 800-780-TIPS (8477).


Autopsy: Airbag Explosion
Caused Woman's Death


ORLANDO, Florida [NMT/WKMG] -- An autopsy says an exploding airbag caused an Orlando woman to die after she sustained severe injuries to her neck and head, Orlando television station WKMG reported.

Florida Highway Patrol investigators said 51-year-old Hien Tran crashed into another car head-on near her home on Valencia College Lane on Sept. 29. Inside, her airbag had exploded, sending shrapnel into her body.

Associate Orange County Medical Examiner Joshua Stephany said in a report released Tuesday that Tran's death last month was an accident.

According to the autopsy report, the medical examiner found multiple tears in the airbag, as well as fragments of loose metal still inside.

Just weeks after Tran's death, the U.S. government issued an urgent plea to more than 4.7 million people to get the air bags in their cars fixed, amid concern that a defect in the devices can possibly kill or injure the driver or passengers.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced Tuesday it wanted the recall to expand nationwide, but the airbag manufacturer, Takata, had refused its request.

The Florida Highway Patrol still hasn't ruled on a cause of death in Tran's case. Troopers have consulted an airbag expert as they probe her death.

Takata will be grilled about the airbag safety issue during Senate hearings in Washington, D.C., which are slated to begin Thursday. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., will chair the proceedings, which will include testimony from Takata as well as Honda Motors.

Senators will also hear from a Destin, Fla., man who was a victim of exploding airbags, WKMG said.

 

~ Wednesday's Local/State News ~

Six Men Arrested in
Manatee Sheriff's Office
Reverse Prostitution Sting

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office has arrested six men following a reverse prostitution sting at an undisclosed Manatee County location.


Above, L to R, Ever Lopez-Mejia, Benito Berrera, Nolan Wright,
Jose Toledo, Frederick Sutton, Mark Brewer

According to the arrest reports, on Friday, Nov. 14th, between the hours of 8:15 p.m. and 10:30 p.m., members of the Manatee County Sheriff's Office Special Investigations Division Tactical Unit conducted an undercover prostitution reverse sting.

A female deputy was working in an undercover capacity, posing as a prostitute when the men approached her.

The men asked the deputy for various forms of sex and were given a price, to which they agreed.

They were taken into custody and arrested.

They were all charged with Solicitation of Prostitution.

The arrestees were:

Ever Lopez-Mejia, 32, of 3027 27th Street West, Bradenton.

Benito Barrera, 54, of 1204 14th Street West, Bradenton.

Nolan Wright, 25, of 2212 42nd Street West, Bradenton.

Jose Toledo, 29, of 11204 Hidden Breeze Drive, Wimauma.

Frederick Sutton, 48, of 1445 17th Street Court East, Bradenton.

Mark Brewer, 49, of 1404 15th Avenue East, Bradenton.

All six men later posted a bail bond of $120 and were released from the Manatee County Jail.


Female K-Mart Employee
Arrested for Petit Theft
by Embezzlement


MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office has arrested Emily N. Baldwin, 30, of 8507 71st Avenue East, Palmetto.


Emily Baldwin

The arrest report said Baldwin was an employee of the K-Mart store located at 6126 U.S. 301, in Ellenton. She had been employed there for about a month.

A loss prevention person began an internal investigation when Baldwin's cash drawer came up short.

Through his investigation, it was discovered that over the past month Baldwin had stolen $175 in cash from her register and $96.47 in assorted store retail.

On Friday, Nov. 14th, at about 1:15 p.m., she was confronted about the thefts and allegedly admitted to them.

She was arrested and charged with two counts of Petit Theft by Embezzlement.

She later posted a $620 bail bond and was released from the Manatee County Jail.


ALERT: BPD Announces
Temporary Change of
NON-Emergency
Phone Number


BRADENTON, Florida [NMT] -- On Wednesday, November 19th, the Bradenton Police Department's telephone system will be undergoing an upgrade for maintenance between the hours of 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m.

The current NON-EMERGENCY phone number, (941) 932-9300, will not be in service. However, temporary NON-EMERGENCY phone numbers have been established to continue service for the general public.

The temporary numbers are (941) 254-6545 and (941) 209-1236 and will be answered by Bradenton Police officers.

As always, the public is encouraged to dial 911 in an actual emergency.


Bradenton Pedestrian Critical
Following Vehicle Collision


MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Florida Highway Patrol reported an injury accident that occurred on Monday, Nov. 17th, at about 6:30 a.m., on State Road 70 at U.S. 41.

The FHP report said a 1997 Ford Explorer, being driven by Sarah Jongsma, 26, of Bradenton, was wesbound o State Road 70 in the left turn lane, approaching the intersection of U.S. 41.

Harry Berrios, 58, of Bradenton, was attempting to cross State Road 70 in an unknown direction, occupying the left turn lane that the Ford was traveling in.

The Ford struck Berrios with its left front.

Berrios was transported to Blake Medical Center in critical condition.


Detectives Ask Help ID Women
Who Stole Wallet from
Store Counter

SARASOTA, Florida [NMT] -- Detectives with the Sarasota Police Department are asking for the public’s assistance in identifying two women who stole a wallet from the counter at Presidential Pawn, 1616 North Washington Blvd., Sarasota on November 14, 2014.


Above, the suspected Dodge Caliber

The victim told detectives he was at Presidential Pawn to purchase some speakers. His wallet was on the counter when he looked to his right to look at some fishing equipment.

The women, who can be seen on camera at http://youtu.be/25FiE59Ky74, are seen watching the victim turn around and then they are seen grabbing the wallet.

The women are believed to have left in a white Dodge Caliber. The photo of that vehicle is seen above.

Anyone with information is encouraged to call Detective Darrell Nixon at 941-954-7078 or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers by calling 941-366-TIPS (8477) or online at www.sarasotacrimestoppers.com.


Prolific Offender Arrested
for Weekend Robberies


SARASOTA COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office has arrested a 33-year-old man for two armed robberies early Saturday morning in Sarasota.


Gary Brayley

The suspect entered the Domino's Pizza in the 3600 block of Webber Street around 2:00 a.m., implied he had a weapon and demanded cash. The employee recognized the suspect as someone he went to high school with and told him to leave. The suspect fled, and about half an hour later, someone matching this suspect's description but wearing a gray mask robbed the 7-Eleven in the 4700 block of Swift Road.

Detectives showed surveillance footage from 7-Eleven to the Domino's victim and confirmed the suspects were the same person. The victim viewed several high school yearbooks and identified the suspect as Gary Brayley, 33, of 5332 Ruby Lane, Sarasota. Brayley has been designated a Prolific Offender with multiple arrests for Home Invasion Robbery, Armed Burglary and Robbery. He is currently on probation for a similar crime at another 7-Eleven in 2010.

Brayley is charged with Attempted Robbery and Robbery while Wearing a Mask and is currently being held on $200,000 bond. The investigation is continuing.


Operation Freelancer Nabs
20 Unlicensed Contractors


SARASOTA COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office arrested 20 people on multiple charges during Operation Freelancer, an investigation to protect citizens from unlicensed contractors.

Detectives worked with the Sarasota County Building Department, the Florida Department of Financial Services Division of Insurance Fraud and the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulations (DBPR) to contact individuals who posted advertisements in various publications that offer to perform construction-type services. The subjects arrived at the target residence between November 13-15, and the DBPR database was checked to determine if they were licensed, registered as a contractor, and/or had the required workers compensation coverage or exemption to perform the work they proposed to do. Those charged with Unlicensed Contracting provided estimates for thousands of dollars' worth of work they cannot legally do.

"Legitimate Sarasota County businesses are undercut by unlicensed contractors, but that's not the sole reason citizens should make sure they hire licensed professionals," said Sheriff Tom Knight. "Using a licensed contractor protects consumers financially, shields them from potential litigation, and ensures their safety because shoddy work can only be detected during the inspection process."

In all, this operation resulted in 15 felony charges, 36 misdemeanor charges and three citations. It is also important to note that of the 20 defendants, 13 have prior criminal histories with 91 total prior felony charges and 89 prior misdemeanor charges. Two were charged with drug possession for bringing illegal substances with them to the home and two were arrested for driving with a suspended license.

Since 2012, two Sarasota County Sheriff's Office detectives have been assigned to investigate claims against people who engage in contracting work without proper licenses, permits or certification. A first offense usually results in a civil citation by Sarasota County Code Enforcement but subsequent violations lead to misdemeanor or felony criminal charges.

Florida law sets specific rules and guidelines for obtaining professional licensure, and the people who have met these requirements are held to professional standards. Consumers can verify licenses with the DBPR online at www.myfloridalicense.com, by calling 850-487-1395, or downloading the free DBPR Mobile app through iTunes or the Google Play store.

To check a Sarasota County license, call the Customer Service and Permit Center at 861-6678 or 861-3029. To report someone you suspect is acting as an unlicensed contractor or performing work without a permit, call 861-5000. For more information visit www.scgov.net/DevelopmentServices/Pages/ContractorLicensing.aspx.


Mother Accused of Trying to
Kill Baby Takes Plea Deal

ORLANDO, Florida [NMT/WKMG] -- A Central Florida mother took a plea deal Tuesday after investigators say she tried to kill her baby, Orlando television station WKMG reported.

Brenna Winter, 19, pleaded no contest to charges of attempted first-degree murder and aggravated child abuse. She will be sentenced in December.

Winter has been in jail since June, when investigators say she tried to suffocate her 3-month-old daughter twice at Nemours Hospital in Orlando.

Hospital staff told investigators they watched on live cameras as the mom stood with her hands in the baby's crib.

Winter first claimed she was helping the congested baby breathe. The second time the baby stopped breathing, Winter said she was trying to breastfeed the child.

WKMG said she later admitted to Orlando police that she covered the baby's mouth until the child turned blue, according to officials.


 

~ Tuesday's Local/State News ~

Woman, 22, Accused of Child
Abuse after Punching, Hitting
Sister, 15 Years Old

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office has arrested Destiny Spires, 22, of 5400 26th Street West, Bradenton.


Destiny Spires

According to the arrest report, Destiny and her unnamed 15-year-old biological sister grew up in the same household.

on Thursday, Nov. 13th, at about 11:15 p.m., Destiny had recently moved out to her mother's house, but returned to pick up some more of her belongings.

They both got into an argument that escalated when Destiny punched and hit her sister in the right cheek with a closed right fist.

A deputy observed bruising and swelling on the victim's right cheek as a result of the strike.

Destiny was arrested and charged with Child Abuse without Great Bodily Harm.

The report noted that the victim refused to fill out an affidavit and would not let deputies take pictures of her injuries.

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


Man Pistol-Whips One,
Threatens Five with
Pistol


MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office has arrested Clifton Davis, 19, of Palmetto.


Clifton Davis

A sheriff's report said on Sunday, Nov. 16th, at about 9 p.m., the suspect and one of the victims in this case, Joshua Harvey, were involved in an argument that turned violent when Davis pulled out silver revolver. This occurred in the 1600 block of 38th Avenue East, Palmetto.

Harvey was struck in the left ear with the firearm, causing a minor injury.

The magazine then dropped from the firearm.

Davis then picked up the magazine and reloaded the firearm.

He then proceeded to level the firearm and threaten all five victims outside the residence.

Davis was arrested and charged with Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon, Battery, Resisting Arrest without Violence and Driving While License Suspended.

He remains in the Manatee County Jail without bond at this time.


Man Arrested for Theft of
$1,000+ in Items from
Lowe's Store


MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office has arrested Richard Hullfish, 53, of 2815 Cortez Road West, in Bradenton.


Richard Hullfish

The arrest report said on Saturday, Nov. 15th, at about 2:15 p.m., Hullfish entered the Lowe's store located at 7395 52nd Place East, Bradenton.

He proceeded to select several items and put them in a shopping cart. He appeared to be in a hurry.

From there, he went to the Garden Center and threw all the items from the shopping cart under the fence that borders the Garden Center without paying for the items.

Loss prevention personnel witnessed all of this and detained him for the sheriff's office.

Hullfish was arrested and charged with Grand Theft Shoplifting.

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


One Dead, One in Serious
Condition after Crash
in Palmetto


MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Florida Highway Patrol reported a fatal crash that occurred on Sunday, Nov. 16th, at about 7:45 p.m., on U.S. 41 at 39th Street East, in Palmetto.



The FHP report said a 2001 Dodge Caravan, being driven by Mario Gonzales, 23, of Palmetto, was stopped westbound at the driveway of Anglers Discount Mart, 3904 U.S. 41.

A 2006 Chevy Colbalt, being driven by Gary B. Robinson, 67, of Largo, was traveling northbound on U.S. 41 approaching 39th Street East.

The Dodge exited the driveway access traveling southbound in the northbound lanes of U.S. 41.

As a result, the Doge entered into the Chevy's path of travel and the left front of the Dodge collided with the left front of the Chevy.

After impact, the Dodge rotated counter-clockwise and came to final rest on the northbound left shoulder facing in a south-easterly direction.

The Chevy rotated clockwise, coming to final rest in the northbound center lane, facing in a south-westerly direction.

Gonzales, the driver of the Dodge, was transported to Blake Medical Center in serious condition.

Two passengers in the Gonzales Dodge were not injured.

Robinson, the driver of the Chevy was also transported to Blake Medical Center, where he was pronounced deceased.

Charges are pending on Gonzales.


Bradenton Police Officer
Casey Harnas Named
Female Officer of the Week

BRADENTON, Florida [NMT] -- The Bradenton Police Department has named Officer Casey Harnas as the Female Officer of the Week.


Above, BPD Officer Casy Harnas

Officer Casey Harnas is a native of Florida. She graduated from Sarasota High School in 2007.

After graduation, she worked at the YMCA, working with children for 10 years.

She attended the State College of Florida and received an Associate of Science degree in Criminal Justice. She is currently attending the University of South Florida pursuing a degree in Leadership.

Officer Harnas attended the Sarasota Criminal Justice Academy and received her Law Enforcement certification in 2012.

She was hired as a Patrol Officer by the Bradenton Police Department in February 2013.

Officer Harnas has participated in 5k runs, the Tough Mudder competition, and other Mud runs.

Officer Harnas loves her profession and encountering different things every day.

The Bradenton Police Department is a professional law enforcement agency which uses modern technology, state-of-the-art equipment and training techniques. Currently 120 sworn officers and 31 civilian employees represent the Bradenton P.D. The Bradenton Police Department services a population of 50,672 within a 14.44 sq mile jurisdiction located on the Central West Coast of Florida.


Weather Warning for
Manatee/Sarasota


MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- There is a line of storms proceeding toward our area that may be accompanied by frequent lightning and gusty winds.

In addition, temperatures in our area are expected to reach into the 30s on Wednesday morning.

Bundle children up on Wednesday. Bring in sensitive plants Tuesday night. Keep pets indoor as much as possible.

Check on an elderly friend.


Buckle Up Before Hitting
the Road this Thanksgiving


SARASOTA COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office is joining a national effort to reach out to all motorists with the important message to buckle up before hitting the road.

The number of traffic crashes in Sarasota County is up compared to this time last year. There have been 32 traffic fatalities through the end of September, also an increase.

Historically, Thanksgiving is the busiest travel time of the year, putting more people on the road and unfortunately, increasing the likelihood of crashes. So law enforcement agencies throughout the United States are intensifying efforts to enforce seatbelt laws for all motorists around the clock. Failing to wear seatbelts costs drivers $116.

In Florida, all motorists must buckle-up when riding in the front seat, and passengers under the age of 18 must use proper seat restraints regardless of where they are seated in the vehicle.

Locally, the Click It or Ticket Campaign will run from November 17-30.

"Including busy Thanksgiving holiday travel times in this traffic safety campaign sends a clear message that law enforcement wants to reduce fatalities and ensure everyone gets to spend time with their friends and family," said Sheriff Tom Knight.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) younger drivers are the most likely to be unbuckled in a fatal crash. NHTSA data also shows men are more likely to be unbuckled than females in a fatal crash.


1-Year-Old Girl Survives Fall
From 3rd-Floor Window

VIERA, Florida [NMT/WKMG] -- Orlando television station WKMG reported a 1-year-old girl fell from a window on the third floor of an apartment building in Brevard County, according to officials.

The accident happened Sunday at 2160 Judge Fran Jamieson Way in Viera.

Brevard County Fire Rescue said the toddler landed in some bushes and was airlifted to Arnold Palmer.

The girl was listed in serious but stable condition.

Details about the fall were not released.

 

~ Monday's Local/State News ~

Dive Shop Burglar Has
Change of Heart; Turns
Himself In

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office reported on Thursday, Nov. 13th, at about 8:15 p.m., Richard J. Morris, 29, of Bradenton, turned himself in and gave a full confession about his involvement in the burglary of a local dive shop on Tuesday, Nov. 11th.


Richard Morris

According to a press release from the Manatee County Sheriff's Office, last Thursday, Richard Morris turned himself in to the Bradenton Police Department and told them he committed the burglary to the dive shop.

BPD, with assistance from Bradenton Police Officer Savaglio, obtained a full confession from Morris. Morris also brought with him numerous items he took during the burglary. These items were returned to the dive shop.

Morris was charged with Burglary and Grand Theft and taken to the Manatee County Jail.

He later posted a $3,000 bail bond and was released from the jail.

As NewsManatee earlier reported, and according to NewsManateeArchives.com, the Sheriff's Office releasing photos of a burglary that occurred on Tuesday, November 11th, at Dive Florida Dive Shop located at 8803 Cortez Rd. W., Bradenton.


Above, photo taken from the surveillance video

The suspect entered the business shortly after 5 a.m. and stole an estimated $20,000 worth of equipment.

The equipment included spear guns, dive lighting and underwater camera equipment.

Deputies responded to the business when the owner discovered the burglary at 9:00 a.m.


Two Arrested Following
Scuffle; One Man Stabbed


MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office has arrested Jeremy Jones, 27, and Cameron Skilton, 22, both of Bradenton.


Above, L to R, Jeremy Jones and Cameron Skilton

A sheriff's report said on Wednesday, Nov. 12th, at about 5:15 p.m., Jones and Skilton were involved in a confrontation outside, which apparently dissolved; then they went back to their respective apartments inside, at 2926 36th Avenue West, Bradenton.

Shortly afterward, Skilton and his girlfriend, Tania Olarte, were involved in an argument inside their home.

Jones, who lives in the other half of the duplex, went next door to make sure everything was alright.

During this second confrontation, Jones was armed with a handgun and struck Skilton in the head with the gun. Skilton claims he stabbed Jones in self-defense.

Skilton fled the scene and a BOLO was issued.

At approximately 6:30 p.m., deputies located Skilton in the 500 block of Cortez Road West and detained him for questioning.

Jones was transported to the hospital with non life threatening injuries; he had been stabbed 3-4 times by Skilton.

Jones' bedroom was searched, using a search warrant, and 3 marijuana saplings were found growing there.

Jones was charged with Aggravated Battery with a Deadly Weapon and Armed Burglary and Cultivation of Marijuana.

Jones remains in custody in the Manatee County Jail without bond.

Skilton was charged with Aggravated Assault.

He later posted a $5,000 bail bond and was released from the Manatee County Jail.


Woman Arrested for Prostitution
after Prior Conviction, More


MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office has arrested Chelsey Jean Seabrook, 20, of 1204 14th Street West, Bradenton.


Chelsey Seabrook

The arrest report said on Thursday, Nov. 13th, an undercover detective attached to the Special Investigations Division Tactical Unit was patrolling the streets of Manatee County, posing as a "John" in an attempt to arrest prostitutes.

At about 4 p.m., he spotted Seabrook walking in the 5900 block of 12th Street East, Bradenton.

He made contact and, after a brief conversation, Seabrook agreed to give the U/C detective oral sex in exchange for $20.

She was taken into custody without incident.

Subsequent to her arrest, she was searched and a capped syringe a spoon with residue, a push rod and a broken glass crack pipe were found in her possession.

In addition, a check of her criminal history revealed a prior conviction for Prostitution in 2013.

Also, She was on probation for a Burglary conviction.

She was charged with Prostitution after Prior Conviction, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and Violation of Probation.

She remains in the Manatee County Jail without bail at this time.


Man Robbed of Wallet by
Three Unknown Men with
High-Powered BB Gun

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office reported a robbery that occurred on Sunday, Nov. 16th, at about 1 a.m., in the 1400 block of 59th Avenue East, Bradenton.

A sheriff's report said the victim, Jorge Sanchez, 20, of the 5800 block of 13th Street Court East, Bradenton, was "sauntering" home from a gas station when three unknown males armed with a high powered BB gun robbed him.

The suspects took the victim's wallet.

During the incident they shot the victim multiple times causing non-life threatening injuries.

The culprits were not further identified in the sheriff's report.

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, click here, or text MCSTIPS plus your message to 274637 (CRIMES).

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


Deputies Search for Man
Who Robbed Two Stores

SARASOTA COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office is searching for a man who robbed a Domino's Pizza Store in the 3600 block of webber Street, and a 7-11 convenience store in the 4700 block of Swift Road, within minutes of each other.


A sheriff's report said on Saturday, Nov. 15th, at about 2:05 a.m., the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office responded to the above listed addresses due to the report of robberies that had just occurred.

Both incidents had the same description of a suspect: A White male, approximately 25-35 years of age, 5'8-5'10 in height, husky build, wearing a gray hoodie/sweater, blue jeans and on the second robbery he was wearing a gray ski mask.

The suspect fled south on Beneva Road after the first robbery, the Sheriff's office then received a report at approximately 02:35 hours in the 4700 block of Swift Road.

A weapon was implied during both robberies.

The suspect fled east behind the store into a wooded area.

Deputies checked the surrounding area with negative results.

Anyone with information is encouraged to call [the Criminal Investigations Section at 941-861-4900] or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers by calling 941-366-TIPS (8477), online at www.sarasotacrimestoppers.com.


Store Owner Arrested for
Selling Synthetic Marijuana


SARASOTA COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office arrested a convenience store owner for selling synthetic marijuana, an illegal substance that is also banned by County Ordinance.


Ramadan Alharbawi

Detectives with the Special Investigations Section executed a search warrant today at The Purple Store, 2222 Dr. Martin Luther King Way, Sarasota, and found 299 bags of "WTF," "Scooby Kush" and "Scooby Snax" that were hidden among shelving units and concealed inside food packaging. Detectives also seized thousands of dollars in cash.

"Citizens should know that this dangerous product is still around," said Sheriff Tom Knight. "While we are seeing less of it, we will not let up as long as this potential health hazard is sold in our community."

Ramadan Khader Alharbawi, 49, of 1542 N. Brink Avenue, Sarasota, is charged with two counts of Sale of a Controlled Substance (XLR11), one count of Sale of a Controlled Substance (Synthetic Cannabinoids) and one count of Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Distribute. Alharbawi is currently being held on $6,000 bond at the Sarasota County Jail.


SPD: Click It or Ticket Campaign
Begins Monday Thru November


SARASOTA, Florida [NMT] -- The Sarasota Police Department will be joining law enforcement agencies around the state of Florida and around the country to step up ‘Click It or Ticket’ activities during the Thanksgiving holiday. Research has shown that lap/shoulder seat belts, when used, reduce the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passenger car occupants by 45% and the risk of moderate-to-critical injury by 50%.

Monday, November 17th through Sunday, November 30th, Sarasota Police officers will increase patrol officers to look for impaired or intoxicated drivers, seat belt and child restraint violations, aggressive drivers, speeding violations, texting violations and every day traffic violations.

Seat belts are the most effective safety feature invented and have helped to save thousands of lives. Sadly, one in five Americans fail to wear a seat belt regularly when driving or riding in a motor vehicle. The Sarasota Police Department continues to take part in the national ‘Click It or Ticket’ campaign to continue efforts to reduce traffic crash fatalities on the roads of the City of Sarasota.

Since January 1, 2013 in the City of Sarasota, police officers have responded to 109 total crashes, 63 of which had injuries and three were fatalities. In all 109 crashes, individuals were not wearing their seat belts.


Man Took Pictures of Boy
in Target Bathroom

OCALA, Florida [NMT/WKMG] -- A Marion County man has been arrested on video voyeurism charges after police say he took pictures of a boy in a Target restroom, Orlando television station WKMG reported.

Ocala police said Thomas Durden, 50, took pictures of a 13-year-old boy in the restroom at the Target on Southwest College Road on Oct. 24.

The boy told police he saw an iPhone in the corner of the stall and when he yelled, Durden pulled the phone back into the other stall and walked out of the bathroom.

According to the report, Target employees say Durden comes to the store often. He was tracked down by store surveillance video.

Durden was booked into Marion County Jail on Thursday, WKMG said.


FHP Makes Significant
Drug Bust on Alley

COLLIER COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- On Thursday, Nov. 13th, at 3:29 p.m., the Florida Highway Patrol's Criminal Interdiction Unit made a traffic stop on a 2007 Toyota Camry gray in color, for illegal tinted windows on eastbound Alligator Alley at the 91mm.


The driver, Alaa Fadeel Harb, 31, of Hollywood, Florida, showed nervous behavior during the traffic stop and gave verbal consent for a search of the vehicle.

The search of the vehicle revealed approximately 63 pounds of synthetic marijuana with an estimated street value of $105,000.

The driver was arrested and transported to the Collier County Jail.


Overall, Crime Dropped in
the First Half of 2014


TALLAHASSEE, Florida [NMT/FDLE] -- Overall, crime continues to fall across Florida according to the 2014 Semi-Annual Uniform Crime Report. The report shows Florida’s crime volume dropped 2.4 percent or 8,133 fewer crimes committed compared to the first six months of 2013.


However, domestic violence murder increased by 20%; murder overall increased by 15% statewide.

Governor Scott said, “Florida is on a path to a 44 year crime low, which is great news for Florida families, communities and visitors. It is thanks to the hard work of our brave law enforcement officials that Florida is reaching these historic crime lows, and we’ll continue working to keep Florida a great and safe place to find opportunities, raise a family and live the American dream.”

Attorney General Pam Bondi said, “Our dedicated law enforcement officers continue to sacrifice their own safety for our communities, and I applaud them on a job well done in continuing to make Florida a safer place to live and raise a family.”

The Semi-Annual UCR calculates crime volume, the number of index crimes known to law enforcement. While crime was down overall, violent crime was up slightly, 0.1 percent. Nonviolent crime was down 2.8 percent. Index crimes including robbery, burglary and larceny all fell during this reporting period while murder, forcible sex offenses, aggravated assault and motor vehicle thefts increased.

Law enforcement officers made 444,558 arrests from January through June 2014. The report also contains information on officers killed feloniously. Three law enforcement officers died from criminal causes while on duty in the first six months of the year while one died accidently during the course of duty.

Overall, domestic violence rose nearly a half percent. The number of domestic violence murders increased during the reporting period, but the number of manslaughters decreased. Cohabitants continue to be the largest group of victims of domestic violence related offenses. Law enforcement continues to make domestic violence a priority encouraging more victims to come forward and report these crimes.

“While overall domestic violence incidents experienced a slight increase the initial six months of the year, we are deeply concerned about the 19.4 percent increase in domestic violence murders,” said Tiffany Carr, President/CEO of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence. “We are committed to work with our law enforcement partners to address this significant increase and to keep domestic violence survivors and their children safe and hold perpetrators accountable.”

The 2014 Semi Annual Uniform Crime Report, including county-by-county breakdowns, can be found on FDLE’s website at www.fdle.state.fl.us/fsac/ucr/.

FDLE began tracking crime statistics in 1971.


 

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