tampabay.com

Crime journal

By TIMES STAFF
Published April 28, 2007


ST. PETERSBURG

Suspect arrested in four bank robberies

Police have arrested a man linked to four Pinellas bank robberies. St. Petersburg police arrested Patrick W. Clark, 38, Friday, two days after investigators identified him in connection with March robberies in Dunedin, Seminole and St. Petersburg. Police said Clark's method was to wait in line at the banks, write down his demand for cash and flee on foot. One teller thought he was cashing a check until she read his note demanding money, police reported.

DUNEDIN

Source of house fire probably was hot tub

A hot tub may be to blame for a Friday evening house fire that took nearly an hour to extinguish, fire officials said. The fire caused about $75, 000 in damage to a home located at 626 Regina Road. The home's owner was not injured during the blaze, but did become ill afterward and was taken to the hospital, Dunedin division Chief Bill McElligott said. Fire officials rescued two dogs and five snakes from the home. McElligott said fire officials believe the hot tub may have started an electrical fire that spread into the house.

PALM HARBOR

Racial slurs deface high school portables

Nine portables at Palm Harbor University High School were spray-painted with racial slurs overnight Thursday, officials said. The school's head plant operator discovered the vandalism about 6 a.m. Friday, school district spokeswoman Andrea Zahn said. Students with classes in the portables were sent to the auditorium for first and second periods Friday while school employees painted over the slurs. Students said teachers and administrators lined up side by side to block students' view of the graffiti. The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office is investigating but has not identified any suspects.

ZEPHYRHILLS

Deputies find crop of 144 marijuana plants

Authorities found a cache of marijuana plants with a street value of $280, 000 in a Zephyrhills home Thursday, the Pasco County Sheriff's Office reported. The sheriff's office contacted the landlord of the home at 4142 Breezewood Drive after receiving a tip that there was marijuana there, the report said. The landlord called the tenant, Yunior Diaz, who gave deputies permission to search the home. They found 144 marijuana plants in a foam-insulated room with plant lights, carbon dioxide units, irrigation systems and fertilizer, the report said. Diaz was charged with cultivation of marijuana.