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Two blaze path of fear in Tampa

Police say the two men stole a car, got into a wreck and threatened people with a gun before being arrested.

By DONG-PHUONG NGUYEN, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 24, 2002

TAMPA -- Two men who drove around the city terrorizing residents during a crime wave Friday were arrested when officers spotted them walking along the Hillsborough River, Tampa police said.

Authorities said this is how the day unfolded:

Early Friday, the men stole a 1984 Chevrolet Camaro at 13720 N Nebraska Ave. They found a fully loaded .45-caliber semiautomatic weapon with an extra clip inside the car.

About 11:05 a.m., they crashed into a car at Sligh Avenue and North Boulevard. When the driver of the other car got out to inspect his vehicle, one of the suspects pointed the gun at the driver before they drove away.

About 15 minutes later, the suspects drove through the Versailles Apartments at 5202 North Blvd. and saw a maintenance man walking along the sidewalk. They pointed the gun at him and threatened him. He ran away.

Then shortly after noon, they drove into the parking lot at Pete and Shorty's restaurant on N Dale Mabry. One of the suspects, wearing a ski mask and holding the gun, forced several customers who were standing in the parking lot to lie on the ground. The suspects then drove off.

About 2:30 p.m., police found the car abandoned near the 6000 block of River Terrace Boulevard. The stereo had been ripped out. A half-hour later, a police officer saw the men walking along the river just south of Hillsborough Avenue.

One of the suspects, identified as William Ridge, 27, threw the gun down in the grass by the riverbank, and the other suspect, Michael Majesky, 28, jumped into the river. Officers said he hid something under his shirt. Both men were arrested.

Officers found the gun and confiscated the gun magazine and a ski mask. Police divers searched the river for firearms and stereo equipment but did not find anything because the water was so murky, police said.

Authorities described both men as "career criminals" and said Majesky had just been released from prison under an early release program.

They face charges of auto theft, aggravated assault and grand theft auto.

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