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Published July 25, 2006

Suspect arrested in attempted bank robbery

A man suspected of attempting to rob a bank in Pinellas Park was arrested Monday.

Shortly before 2 p.m., the man approached the teller at the Bank of America at 5100 Park Blvd. and demanded all of the money in the teller drawer, according to the Pinellas Park Police Department. Before he got any, he fled out the door. A bank employee followed him, but lost sight of him a few blocks away, police said.

Malachi Howard Eastridge, 34, was arrested near 56th Street and 72nd Avenue N and taken to Pinellas County Jail, police said. Officers found an air pistol on the ground next to him. Eastridge was released from prison in April after serving 14 years, police said.

Police said they had no idea what spooked the man into running from the bank.

Man gets 3 years in prison for shooting gun at school

A man who fired several gunshots while chasing another man across the Perkins Elementary School grounds this spring was sentenced to three years in prison Monday.

Jason Daniel Scott, 27, pleaded no contest to charges of aggravated assault and discharging a firearm on school property. Defendants who plead no contest do not admit guilt but offer no defense.

The three-year prison term was the minimum sentence mandated by state law.

St. Petersburg police said Scott and another man, Derrick Edwards, 26, got into an argument on March 8. Edwards is the ex-boyfriend of Scott's wife, police reported.

Scott pulled a gun and the men ran across school grounds while about a dozen children were outside. Edwards jumped onto a loaded school bus and told the driver to "go, go, go!" as he lay on his stomach on the floor, police said.

Police said Scott fired shots at Edwards and fired other shots in the air after Edwards got onto the bus. No one was injured, though children who witnessed the incident were offered counseling.

Man, stepson hurt in hit-run while fishing

Two Gulfport residents were injured early Monday after a hit-and-run accident in St. Petersburg.

Michael T. Vella, 45, and Nathan Naumann, 21, were fishing off the bridge at 1900 Pasadena Ave. around 1:14 a.m. when a dark green or black newer-model Dodge pickup truck rolled over the curb, striking Vella and grazing Naumann. The truck, which was coming from St. Pete Beach, stopped briefly after the accident, then kept going.

The victims say the truck driver was female, and the passenger was male.

Vella was taken to Bayfront Medical Center with injuries to his left leg and foot. He was treated and released Monday. Naumann, Vella's stepson, was not seriously injured.

Deputies say there will be damage to the right front side of the truck. Anyone with information should call the Sheriff's Office at (727) 582-6200 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-TIPS.

Pawnshop robber may also have robbed gas station

TAMPA - Police think a man who recently robbed a Tampa pawnshop may be the same man who robbed an Oldsmar gas station.

On Monday, police released photographs of the man taken during the July 19 robbery at Value Pawn, at 3102 W Hillsborough Ave. In the photos, the man's face is masked by a white scarf, making it difficult to identify him.

The man used a gun to force store employees to remove necklaces and other jewelry from a display case, said police spokeswoman Andrea Davis.

Police believe the man may also be one of two men who robbed a Hess Express convenience store at 3659 State Road 580 in Oldsmar on July 17.

Anyone with information should call Tampa police Detective Calvin Johnson at (813) 276-3532.


[Last modified July 25, 2006, 01:12:54]

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