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Police report

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

Illinois man faces burglary charge

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.

Fire destroys two rooms; mom, daughters escape

ZEPHYRHILLS -- A fire Saturday morning destroyed two rooms of a house, but a woman and her daughters escaped unharmed.

The fire at 38149 Ninth Ave. was probably started by a candle in a bedroom, Zephyrhills fire Capt. Jim Kuhn said. He did not know the amount of damage but said it was "pretty extensive."

Stephanie and Travis Transue own the one-story block home. Stephanie Transue and her two girls, ages 3 and 5, were home about 10 a.m. Saturday when the fire started. No one was injured, and the fire took about 10 minutes to extinguish, Kuhn said.

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