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Hernando briefs

By Times staff writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published December 15, 2002


Burned car found in pit thought to be stolen

BROOKSVILLE -- A partly burned Ford Tempo found at the bottom of an old mining pit at the Quarry Golf Course on Friday morning is thought to be stolen, the Brooksville Police Department said Saturday.

Officer Cole Brinson, who investigated the incident, said the registered owner of the car said that he had sold it to Garth Chytka, 21, of Brooksville. Chytka said he only bought the Tempo two weeks ago and had not registered it. He told police that it had been stolen, but that he had not reported it because he did not know the car's vehicle identification number.

Brinson said the investigation remains open because of Chytka's failure to report the theft. But the car is not linked to any crime more serious than vandalism and arson of a vehicle. A Quarry employee found the car in the water. The fire in the back part of the car had scorched several nearby trees.

Illinois man facing burglary, escape charges

HUDSON -- An Illinois man suspected of burglary also will face escape charges after deputies said he broke out of a patrol car and took off running.

Paul Bryant Bahler, 27, of Rockford, Ill., was caught about 1:30 a.m. Saturday after being on the run for an hour and 15 minutes, Pasco sheriff's Sgt. Ray Stanley said. The manhunt involved 15 Pasco sheriff's deputies, seven Hernando deputies, two helicopters and a dog, he said.

Bahler was in town visiting his sister, Chastity Pals, at 18928 Quercus Drive. Shortly after midnight Friday, Bahler broke into a neighboring apartment and stole several Christmas gifts worth $300, according to Pasco sheriff's reports.

When the neighbors returned, Bahler told them he had seen two men leaving the apartment, Stanley said. But his story changed several times, and the gifts were later found in Pals' apartment, according to reports.

Deputy David Morgan arrested and handcuffed Bahler and put him in the back of a patrol car while he investigated. Bahler kicked out the rear window of the car and climbed out, heading south toward a vacant Winn-Dixie building, reports state. He was caught, handcuffed and wearing only one shoe, less than 2 miles away at 5660 Bassin Circle.

Bahler is charged with grand theft, burglary to a residence, escape and criminal mischief. He remained in the Pasco County jail in Land O'Lakes on Saturday in lieu of $11,500 bail.

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