tampabay.com

Crime journal

By Times Staff Writer
Published February 21, 2008


TARPON SPRINGS

Lawmaker's tip led authorities to marijuana 

To Peter Nehr's lengthy resume of jobs and activities - businessman, city commissioner, state representative, bodybuilding enthusiast - add this line: crime dog. The 55-year-old GOP state representative from Tarpon Springs proudly stepped forward Wednesday as the tipster who alerted authorities to a marijuana grow house near Lake Tarpon that deputies raided the day before. Sheriff's officials said the arrest netted 29 live plants, 131 marijuana root balls and more than 136 pounds of harvested marijuana, worth an estimated $500,000. Not to mention an assortment of weapons. The day after the raid, Nehr sent out an e-mail taking credit for the tip and promoting a bill he has co-sponsored to tighten state drug laws.

CLEARWATER

Disbarred lawyer charged with theft

A lawyer who was disbarred last year has been charged with stealing $400,000 from a client weeks after he lost his license to practice law. Richard Joseph Da Fonte, 50, of Clearwater was charged this month with withholding the money from Kenneth Yang of Texas, one of three people Da Fonte represented in a real estate transaction in late October.

MADEIRA BEACH

Teen girl reports abduction attempt

A 14-year-old girl said a man tried to abduct her on Wednesday as she got off a school bus in Madeira Beach. The girl, a Pinellas Park Middle School student, said she saw a man standing by a white van when she left the bus at 140th Avenue and Vivian Drive about 5 p.m. He called for her to come over, but she screamed and ran away. Witnesses told police they saw the van driving around the neighborhood. Pinellas County sheriff's deputies are looking for the man, who is described as a balding white man about 30 years old, 5 feet 8 inches tall and thin, with brown eyes and graying brown hair. He was last seen wearing a short sleeve T-shirt and jeans. Witnesses said he was driving a white commercial van that may have had red lettering on the side that read "engineering" or "electric." The Sheriff's Office asks that anyone with information to call (727) 582-6200 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-TIPS.