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By Times Staff Writer
Published February 20, 2008
Authorities have arrested five people in connection with a string of commercial burglaries and vending machine thefts at Pinellas high schools. Between Jan. 14 and Feb. 7, authorities said, the group of young men, ages 17 to 26, pried open vending machines in six separate incidents at East Lake High School, Tarpon Springs High School and Palm Harbor University High School. They made off with $2,000 in cash and did $7,000 in damage, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office said. The oldest of the suspects, 26-year-old Christopher Kuzma of Oldsmar, also faces charges in a residential burglary in Tarpon Springs that netted more than $30,000 in cash, jewelry, sports memorabilia and other household items, the Sheriff's Office said. In addition, detectives said Kuzma admitted to two home invasions in Pennsylvania during the summer of 2006. The Pennsylvania State Police are investigating those cases. The other four suspects are Joseph J. Libertino, 18, of Hudson, and David Thibodeau, 18, Jeffrey M. Isaacs, 19, and Michael McCormack, 17, of Palm Harbor. They all face burglary charges.
For city elections, early vote at hand
Early voting for the March 11 city elections in Tarpon Springs, Dunedin and Belleair begins 8 a.m. Monday and will be held through March 8. Hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays at the Election Service Center in Starkey Lakes Corporate Center, 13001 Starkey Road, Largo; the Pinellas County Courthouse, 315 Court St., Room 117, Clearwater, and the County Building at 501 First Ave. N, St. Petersburg. All registered voters also are eligible to vote by mail. To request a ballot by phone, call (727) 464-6788. The deadline to request that a ballot be mailed to you is 5 p.m. March 5. Voters may pick up ballots through election day. Ballots must be returned to any Supervisor of Elections office by 7 p.m. on election day and cannot be accepted at polling places. For detailed early voting or mail ballot information, or to view a sample ballot, go to www.votepinellas.com or call (727) 464-6108.
City manager fires public works chief
Charles Brewer, Safety Harbor's director of public works, was fired on Feb. 15 by interim City Manager Matt Spoor. Spoor said he "did not have Mr. Brewer's support in management decisions and encountered resistance from him." In the end, Spoor said he lost confidence in Brewer's ability to lead the department effectively. At a City Commission meeting Monday, Brewer, who was hired in June 2007, described a hostile work environment and said his "wrongful termination is being investigated and I will have my day in court."
[Last modified February 19, 2008, 20:54:13]