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Tip aided police, not stock investors

Published May 4, 2007


CLEARWATER - Fred Botts retired in 1990, but the former stockbroker still gives good tips. On Wednesday, he reported the hiding place of a man wanted for robbing a bank. The Village on Island Estates, where Botts lives and serves on the neighborhood watch, isn't known for its crime. "Big crime, " Botts said, "is someone's dog gets off the leash and poops on someone's yard." But Wednesday morning, the Wachovia Bank at 130 Island Way was hit. Later, Botts saw the helicopter hovering overhead, and the complex manager mentioned the holdup. So when Botts went to the back of his house and saw a "wild, dirty-looking person, " shirtless and smoking a cigarette in the bushes, he thought, "well, that doesn't look right." Minutes later, Wesley Musser, 24, was in custody, and Botts, 71, was a hero for the day. Robbing an island bank, he said, was a poor choice: "There's only one road out."


Driver in charged in fatal wreck

PALM HARBOR - A Palm Harbor man has been charged with driving under the influence manslaughter in connection with a Dec. 24 crash that killed his passenger. Steven Rall, 19, and Samuel Hipple, 24, were driving on Live Oak Street when Rall lost control of his Mustang, which hit and flipped. Rall was charged with manslaughter and driving on a suspended or revoked license.


Car hits cruiser; deputy injured

TOWN 'N COUNTRY - A Hillsborough sheriff's deputy is recovering from injuries suffered early Thursday when his cruiser was rear-ended during a traffic stop. Deputy Gus Garcia was assisting another deputy on Anderson Road when a Ford Explorer driven by Toil Christopher Smith, 32, of Tampa smashed into his cruiser. Smith's Explorer rolled over, said sheriff's spokeswoman Debbie Carter. Smith and Garcia were treated for non-life-threatening injuries.


Power play lands woman in jail

DADE CITY - A 36-year-old woman who had her power box rigged to receive electricity without paying for it was charged with grand theft Wednesday, according to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office. Kimberly Lynn Courtney of 782212 Dade City Avenue admitted stealing $900 worth of electricity, according to reports. A fraud investigator for Tampa Electric saw that the power box at her house had been equipped with "jumper bars" - metallic conductors.


Driver sentenced in uncle's death

NEW PORT RICHEY - John Casamento, 77, was a passenger who died in a drunken-driving accident in 2005. David Casamento, the nephew he raised, was charged with DUI manslaughter and faced up to 10 years in prison. He pleaded no contest in March and was sentenced last week to six years in prison by Circuit Judge William Webb. The Casamento family asked for leniency in the crash that killed one family member and left the other seriously injured. The younger Casamento, now 45, lost control while speeding, authorities say, and his 0.163 blood-alcohol level was twice the threshold at which law presumes impairment.

[Last modified May 4, 2007, 01:45:40]

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