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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 March 2, 2014 - March 8, 2015

~ Monday's Local/State News ~

Bradenton Attorney Faces
Two DUI Charges, Battery
of Law Enforcement Officer

BRADENTON BEACH, Florida [NMT/The Islander] -- A Bradenton attorney was arrested after driving his truck into an ambulance at the Gulf Drive Cafe in Bradenton Beach.

Maurice Mooney

According to a Bradenton Beach Police report, Maurice A. Mooney turned his vehicle into the cafe property at 900 Gulf Drive N. at about 9 p.m. Feb. 19 and struck the emergency medical services vehicle and a wood railing on the side of the restaurant,

Mooney, 57, repeatedly told witnesses and law enforcement he was an attorney. He was arrested by BBPD for battery, battery on a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest with violence, the report stated.

The Florida Highway Patrol responded and processed two driving-under-the-influence charges against Mooney, one because his vehicle struck the ambulance and one for hitting the building.

BBPD, West Manatee Fire Rescue and EMS had been at the Gulf Drive Cafe on a medical call, and another BBPD officer responded to the crash.

Witnesses told the BBPD officer that Mooney had been driving the vehicle that crashed.

The report stated the officer observed Mooney staggering on the walkway and trying to enter the restaurant.

Mooney allegedly looked at the officer and asked him, “What crash?”

Mooney also yelled, “I’m an attorney, unless I’m under arrest, f— off,” according to the BBPD report.

After the officer told Mooney he was not free to leave, Mooney allegedly said he would sue him.

The report stated Mooney ignored the officer when he asked him not to go into the restaurant.

As the officer began to restrain Mooney, he allegedly became combative and the officer used pepper spray to subdue him. Mooney kicked the police officers as they attempted to put him in the squad car, according to the BBPD report.

Mooney complained of chest pains and was treated by EMS, according to the report.

He was booked at the Manatee County jail. He posted $4,000 bond and was released.

Mooney was assigned a March 20 court date at the Manatee County Judicial Center, 1051 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton.

[Ed. Note: The above report was written by the Anna Maria Islander, a news partner of NewsManatee.com.]

1st Homicide of 2015
Reported in Palmetto
by Manatee Sheriff

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office reported the 1st homicide of 2015 that was discovered at about 7:30 p.m., in the roadway in the 1300 block of 26th Street East, in Palmetto.

Deputies were on routine patrol when they found the victim laying in the roadway.

Just as deputies discovered the victim, a 911 call was received in reference to a shooting with injuries at this location.

Deputies immediately began providing the victim with emergency medical treatment and secured the crime scene.

Manatee County EMS and North River Fire Department responded to the scene and the victim was pronounced deceased at 7:40 p.m.

The Manatee County Homicide Investigative Unit was summoned and responded to the scene.

As of this writing detectives are still on scene investigating the homicide.

Alexander Williams, deceased

The victim was later identified as Alexander Williams, 27, of Palmetto.

Detectives believe there could be witnesses to the shooting.

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.

Palmetto Police Chief Appointed
Manatee Sheriff's Chief Deputy

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- Manatee County Sheriff Brad Steube has announced on March 2, 2015, Palmetto Police Chief Rick Wells will be appointed Chief Deputy at the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.

Above, Manatee County Sheriff's
Chief Deputy Colonel Rick Wells

Wells will hold the rank of Colonel.

The Chief Deputy position has been vacant since Colonel Chuck Hagaman retired in January of 2013.

Wells, 50, was a lieutenant with the Sheriff's Office before becoming Police Chief.

He also was a longtime trooper with the Florida Highway Patrol.

Wells will be second in command at the Sheriff's Office with a salary of $122,667.

Multi-Agency Unlicensed
Contractor Sting in Manatee
County Nets 11 Arrests

TALLAHASSEE, Florida [NMT] -- On February 13th, the Florida Department of Financial Services today announced the recent arrest of 11 individuals in Manatee County for unlicensed contracting and engaging in construction work without workers’ compensation insurance. The Division of Insurance Fraud, in partnership with the Department of Business & Professional Regulation, the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office and Holmes Police Department and Manatee County Code Enforcement executed the sting over a three day period, calling for contractors to perform services at an uninhabited home in Manatee County.

All eleven defendants were charged with unlicensed contracting and workers’ compensation fraud. Each was also fined by local code enforcement and issued a Cease and Desist order by DBPR. They are:

· Jarrod David Roan, 03/18/76

· David James Wollard, 12/13/63

· Michael Dean Mosley II, 03/18/69

· Julian Lowell Culbreath, 03/04/65

· Lee Entler, 10/03/64

· Michael Todd Blumin 03/05/77

· Ernest Alexis, 10/27/77

· Franklin Nelson Childress, 10/29/64

· Richard Murphy, 07/30/57

· Warren Edward Howard, 07/05/60

· James Mark Todd, 09/05/53

If convicted, the arrested individuals face up to five years prison for each workers’ compensation charge and an additional year for a first time unlicensed contractor charge or five years for repeat offenders.

Anyone with information about suspected insurance fraud is asked to call 1-800-378-0445. Citizens who provide tips can remain anonymous. The Department of Financial Services has awarded nearly $350,000 to nearly 60 citizens as part of its Anti-Fraud Reward Program. The program rewards individuals up to $25,000 for information that directly leads to an arrest and conviction in an insurance fraud scheme.

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 professional licenses online at www.myfloridalicense.com. Additionally, Floridians should report any suspected unlicensed activity by emailing ULA@myfloridalicense.com, calling the Unlicensed Activity Hotline at 1-866-532-1440 or by downloading the DBPR Mobile app.

Murder/Suicide Pact Revealed
after Double Shootings

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office reported a double shooting resulting from an apparent murder/suicide pact that occurred on Thursday, February 19, 2015.

At approximately 11:30 Thursday morning, deputies responded to a residence on Lincoln Rd., in Bradenton, to check on the welfare of two subjects.

After attempting to make contact with the subjects, deputies entered the residence and found the two subjects dead from apparent gunshot wounds.

Subsequent investigation by detectives has revealed an apparent murder/suicide pact by the two subjects. The two subjects were Mickaella Moreta, a 59-year-old female and Stephen Zaslow, a 78-year-old male.

Detectives have concluded that Zaslow shot the female and then shot himself as part of a murder-suicide pact.

East Manatee Burglary
Reported with Large
Amount of Jewelry

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office reported a burglary in East Manatee County during which a large amount of jewelry appeared to have been stolen.

A sheriff's report said on Tuesday, Feb. 24th, between 4:30 and 5:30 p.m., the victim went to a nearby gym.

During that time, unknown person(s) forced entry into the residence located in the 7900 block of Grand Estuary Trail, Bradenton.

The unknown person(s) used an unknown type tool to pry open the secured rear sliding door.

Once inside, the unknown person(s) stole a large amount of jewelry.

The home appeared to be in order and did not appear to have been ransacked during the incident.

There were several items of value in plain view in the residence including an envelope containing cash that remained untouched.

The unknown person(s) fled from the residence in an unknown direction by unknown means.

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.

Teen Arrested on Several
Drug Charges

SARASOTA COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office arrested an 18-year-old on drug charges after he was seen counting cash in his vehicle with a bag of marijuana by his side.

Michael Cramer

The deputy responded to a report of suspected drug transactions occurring in a parking lot in the 3700 block of Bee Ridge Road in Sarasota Tuesday afternoon. He approached the vehicle and saw the suspect counting money and a baggie of marijuana. The suspect didn't notice the deputy until he tapped on the window, and as the suspect got out of the car he said, "I'm in so much trouble. There's a lot more in the trunk."

After seizing $4,300 in cash and the bag containing 28 grams of cannabis that were in plain view, detectives obtained a search warrant for the vehicle and found 748 Alprazolam tablets, more than six pounds of marijuana, drug paraphernalia and edible products containing THC.

Michael Cramer, 18, 3000 Southwest Drive, Sarasota, is charged with one count of Possession of Cannabis with Intent to Sell, one count of Possession of Alprazolam (Xanax) with Intent to Sell and one count of Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Explosion, Fire at Sarasota
Residence Kills One Man

SARASOTA COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The State Fire Marshal, Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office and Sarasota County Fire Department is investigating and explosion and fire at 2141 Cork Oak Street in Sarasota.

Emergency personnel were called to the scene Thursday night, Feb. 26th, at 9:24 p.m.

Once the fire was extinguished the scene was secured overnight.

At this time, the sheriff's office can confirm one fatality.

The scene investigation by the State Fire Marshal is still in progress. All parties SSO were attempting to speak with for this investigation have been located and provided background information on the events of the day/evening prior to the explosion and fire.

This is an active investigation, including the process of determining the cause of the explosion and the manner and cause of the victim’s demise.

Deputies and firefighters are walking the neighborhood to collect any items in the debris field.

The Medical Examiner has positively identified the person who died in the Cork Oak home explosion as owner/resident Erick Szakacs, 46. His wife has been notified.

FDLE Arrests Father & Son
for Child Pornography

SARASOTA, Florida [NMT/FDLE] -- The Florida Department of Law Enforcement Fort Myers Regional Operations Center Cyber High-Tech Crime Squad arrested Jean Rene Pariseau, Jr., 68, and his son, Jean Rene Pariseau III, 43, of Sarasota, Fla. on multiple counts of possession of child pornography.

FDLE Agents executed a search warrant today at 6490 Approach Road, Sarasota, Fla. as an investigation revealed that someone at the residence had been using a computer to share child pornography online. Agents located numerous images and videos of child pornography on several computers belonging to the Pariseaus.

Pariseau Jr. was arrested on 10 counts of possession of child pornography and one count of promotion of child pornography. Pariseau III was arrested on four counts of possession of child pornography.

The Pariseaus were booked into the Sarasota County Jail. This investigation remains active and additional charges are expected. This case will be prosecuted by Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Office of Statewide Prosecution.

Anyone with information concerning this investigation is urged to contact the FDLE Fort Myers Regional Operations Center at (800) 407-4880.

For tips on ways to keep your children safe online, please visit the Secure Florida website to review tips for keeping your children safe online at: http://secureflorida.org/staying_safe/best_practices_for_parents/.

Click It or Ticket Spring
Campaign Began Sunday

SARASOTA, Florida [NMT/SPD] -- The Sarasota Police Department is joining law enforcement agencies from around the state of Florida and around the country to step up ‘Click It or Ticket’ activities.

Research shows 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%.

In 2014 in the City of Sarasota, Sarasota Police Officers responded to 2,566 crashes. Of the 2,566 crashes, 72 of those crashes, the driver and/or passenger were not wearing a seat belt. Of those 72 crashes where the driver and/or passenger were not wearing a seat belt, 38 people had injuries, 4 of those fatal.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the national seat belt use rate is at 87 percent but the other 13 percent, an estimated 27.5 million people, do not buckle up when they get into a vehicle.

“We want to bring these numbers down,” said Sarasota Police Traffic Officer Tim Bales. “There are too many people dying on the road and so many of those deaths could have been prevented if people stopped and took the time to buckle up. We will continue to hand out tickets year-round to those people who still haven’t gotten the message,” said Officer Bales.

Sunday, March 1, 2015 through Saturday, March 14, 2015, Sarasota Police Officers increased patrol officers to look for impaired or intoxicated drivers, seat belt and child restraint violators, aggressive drivers, speeding violations, texting violations and every day traffic violations.

15-Year-Old Charged
with Sexual Battery

CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- Charlotte County Sheriff's Office Major Crimes detectives charged a 15-year-old Port Charlotte boy with three counts of sexual battery concerning incidents that allegedly occurred when the boy was 14 and the victim was 8 years old.

According to reports, during the early part of February the victim’s mother told the girl that she would be seeing a friend of hers at a sports class that evening. The girl became very upset and began to cry, telling her mother that she didn’t want to see the boy because he touches her in a way she didn’t like. The girl’s mother called the Sheriff’s Office.

Major Crimes detectives arranged for the girl, who is now 10 years old, to speak with a child forensic interview specialist. During the interview the girl described three separate instances when the boy forced her to have sexual relations with him. During one instance, she described him tying her hands with string and putting tape on her mouth. The girl was able to describe in fairly graphic detail each event.

As a result of their investigation, on Thursday February 19, detectives arrested Joseph Jon Balunas, 15, of 22336 Montrose Avenue in Port Charlotte, on three counts of Sexual Battery on a Victim Under Age 12. He was booked into the Charlotte County Jail and turned over to the custody of the Department of Juvenile Justice.

Paramedic Accused of Abusing
Disabled Hospice Patient

ROCKLEDGE, Florida [NMT/WKMG] -- A Brevard County paramedic is now suspended with pay after he was arrested for allegedly abusing a hospice patient he was taking care of, Orlando television station WKMG reported.

Police say the abuse happened Wednesday outside Wuestoff Medical Center in Rockledge.

It all started after investigators say the 48-year-old disabled patient refused to get off of the ambulance stretcher he was being transported in.

Kenneth Hallenbeck and the patient then got into a verbal altercation before the BCFR paramedic flipped the stretcher over, causing the victim to fall to the floor, police say.

Based on video evidence, investigators believe that it was an intentional act.

"Your patient is your primary concern," said Assistant State Attorney Gary Beatty, who happens to be a former paramedic. "Your focusing on the safety, welfare and protection of your patient."

Hallenbeck next week has a meeting with the professional standards department at BCFR where officials said he could learn whether he still has a job.

He's being held at the Brevard County Jail on a $5,000 bond on charges of abuse of elderly/disabled, WKMG said.


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