Crime JournalAssociated Press
Published August 23, 2007
MAN SOUGHT IN TARPON SLAYING IS FOUND DEAD
A man whom Tarpon Springs officials wanted to question about a murder was found dead Wednesday in a Holiday motel. Robert Maniatis, 20, died of an apparent overdose in a room at the Tahitian Resort. Michael Scott Steele, 25, of New Port Richey was found shot to death in Tarpon on Monday night. An alert was issued by Tarpon police late Tuesday that Maniatis was a person of interest in the slaying and should be considered "armed and dangerous." Now the investigation will continue without him, said Sgt. Barb Templeton. Pasco County sheriff's deputies believed he was responsible for a number of shootings in his neighborhood, Holiday Lake Estates.
Deputy suspended for violating rules
A Pinellas County sheriff's deputy begins a four-day suspension today after an internal investigation concluded that he violated department rules when he ran a red light last year during a chase. On Sept. 22, 2006, Deputy John Bradshaw crashed into a sport utility vehicle in the intersection of 38th Avenue N and 49th Street, injuring the driver and her son, then 3. The investigation found Bradshaw was driving at least 57 mph. The crash happened after Bradshaw, then a six-year employee, began chasing an erratically driven Buick. He ended up hitting an SUV driven by Grace Mariano Umali at 1:30 a.m. He broke his leg and suffered other injuries. Umali pleaded no contest to driving under the influence and got a year's probation.
Two convicted in Texas travel scam
Two Clearwater residents could receive up to 20 years in prison and be ordered to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and restitution after being convicted in a scheme to book a fraudulent cruise through a McKinney, Texas, travel agency in 2004. A jury on Tuesday found Carol Ribaudo, 52, and Sonja Ritz, 28, guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, five counts of mail fraud, and nine counts of wire fraud, according to a statement released Wednesday by U.S. Attorney John L. Ratcliffe. Testimony showed that the two operated Elite Business Services in McKinney, 33 miles north of Dallas.