Crime journal

Published April 14, 2007



A man wielding a sledgehammer smashed his way into a Petland store Thursday, then shattered a glass cage front to snatch a $2,200 Yorkshire terrier puppy. The theft occurred at 10:55 p.m. at the pet store at 7699 W Waters Ave., sheriff's deputies said. But deputies may not have to search long, said Sue Waugaman, the store's general manager. Surveillance cameras filled the store and recorded the burglary. The thief broke through the glass front door, ran in and swung the hammer into the front of the puppy enclosure without breaking stride. He ignored birds and other puppies worth much more. He left behind the hammer when he fled, and wasn't wearing gloves. "It took seven seconds from when he busted the window to when he walked out the door," Waugaman said. Perusing the tapes, she saw the man had visited before. "We move our puppies daily, so he had to have been in the store earlier in the day to know exactly where the puppy was," she said. Like all the store's puppies, the female Yorkie was 9 weeks old - when puppies are cutest. "You take a very good-looking picture of a Yorkie, and that's what she looked like," Waugaman said.


New Yorker killed in two-car wreck

A New York woman was killed Friday morning in a two-car collision on Spring Hill Drive, police said. Margaret A. Russell, 59, of Cowlesville, N.Y., ran a stop sign while driving north on Bentley Avenue at 6:55 a.m., colliding with an eastbound car, police said. Both of the occupants in the other vehicle - 35-year-old Maria S. Campos and 12-year-old Daniel Campos - were transported to Spring Hill Regional Hospital, but their injuries were not life-threatening, said Florida Highway Patrol spokesman Larry Coggins.


Crash that killed 2 still under scrutiny

Police on Friday were still investigating a crash on Keene Road that left two Clearwater residents dead Thursday. No charges had been filed. The two people killed were identified as James Popovich, 44, of 1424 S Betty Lane, and Narcyza Michalak, 80, of 1245 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. S. The accident happened about 3 p.m. Thursday at Keene Road and Flagler Drive. Police said Abraham Wohl, 84, also of Clearwater, had apparently been traveling north on Keene when he made a left turn to go west on Flagler Drive and pulled into the path of Popovich's southbound 1975 Honda motorcycle. Michalak, who was a passenger in Wohl's car, died at the scene, and Popovich died at the hospital a short time later. Wohl was not seriously injured, police said.