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Police reports

By Times staff reports

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 26, 2001

Police: Man whacked men, van with shovel

NEW PORT RICHEY -- A New Port Richey man was arrested Saturday after he whacked a man and his neighbor with a spade shovel when the pair tried to stop the shovel-wielding man from further damaging a van, Pasco sheriff's deputies said.

Richard Crane, 27, 6985 Edgewater Dr., was arrested on two counts of aggravated battery and one count each of burglary and criminal mischief.

According to reports, Crane went to a home on Limit Drive in Port Richey. The owner of the home, James McRae, 45, 6640 Oelsner Drive, New Port Richey, said that Crane broke in and took money and prescription drugs.

McRae told deputies that Crane came to his home to confront him about $25 that McRae had borrowed from Crane's girlfriend and paid back. McRae said Crane was upset about the debt and wanted McRae to pay him as well.

Crane began smashing McRae's van with a shovel, McRae said. When McRae tried to stop Crane, Crane hit him in the neck and head with the shovel, McRae said. A neighbor, Gerald Hannafin, 58, saw the scuffle and went to stop it.

Hannafin said Crane then hit him in the face and neck with the shovel.

A Pasco deputy found Crane walking away from the Oelsner Street home carrying a pipe. Crane told deputies that he was beat up by two men at the address.

Neither McRae nor Hannafin was injured, deputies said.

Crane was taken to the Land O'Lakes jail, where he was being held Sunday night on $20,500 bail.

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