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Fire causes $200,000 in damage to Hops

By TIMES WIRES
Published December 27, 2006


Lightning that struck Hops Grill and Brewery on Christmas Day caused $200,000 in damage to the restaurant, fire officials said Tuesday. The bolt hit the restaurant around noon Monday, starting a fire that took about an hour to extinguish, said Palm Harbor Fire and Rescue spokeswoman Elizabeth Monforti. Firefighters from six communities - Palm Harbor, Tarpon Springs, East Lake, Safety Harbor, Dunedin and Clearwater - responded to the fire. The lightning came from a line of violent storms that tore through the bay area Monday. The front dumped more than an inch of rain on Pinellas.

Car burglars find easy targets

Twenty-six auto burglaries were reported in several clusters around the city between Dec. 3 and Dec. 20, according to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office. The thieves made off with such items as cash, radios, cell phones and digital cameras. About one-third of the reports listed an 18-year-old white male suspect, 5-foot-11 to 6-foot tall, 150 pounds. Areas of concentration include Autumn Palm Tree Acres, Betmar Acres, Southern Charm Mobile Home Park and Westwood Village. In many of the cases, the thief simply tried the door handle and helped himself.

Pit bullterriers attack cows, man

On Christmas afternoon in west Pasco County, two packs of pit bullterriers went hunting for their own feast. The first pack mauled some cows around 4 p.m. on Nottingham Trail in Hudson, according to a sheriff's incident report. Then, around 5 p.m. on Boulder Drive in New Port Richey, a 36-year-old man was walking near his home when two pit bulls escaped from a nearby yard. One of them bit him twice on the left leg, breaking the skin. The dogs' fate was not clear on Tuesday.