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Employee charged with stealing motor home

By Times staff writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 6, 2001

INVERNESS -- Inverness police arrested a 35-year-old man Tuesday evening and accused him of stealing a motor home from his employer.

James Michael Walsh, 1823 S Mooring Drive, was an employee at Recreation USA, 2709 State Road 44. On Tuesday, officers received a call about a stolen RV from the dealership, records showed. One officer saw the vehicle in the parking lot of a SunTrust bank at 408 U.S. 41. Walsh was at the wheel. He told officers that he left work that Tuesday and locked his keys in his truck, the records showed. He said he had taken the motor home to his house to search for extra keys. When he didn't find them, Walsh drove back, according to his statement. He said he ran out of gasoline and had to get a ride to a gas station. After returning to the vehicle, he said he pulled into the bank to use the ATM and then was on his way back to the dealership.

Despite Walsh's story, owner Tom Balfour pressed charges. Walsh was charged with grand theft auto, possession of marijuana and unlawfully attaching a tag not assigned to a vehicle. He was taken to Citrus County jail, where he later was released on bail, jail officials said.

Streets closed for Bayfest

CRYSTAL RIVER -- For Bayfest this weekend, Crystal Street, from Citrus Avenue to NE Second Avenue, will be closed from 3 p.m. today to 8 p.m. Sunday, and First Avenue from Crystal Street to Ninth Street will be closed from 3 p.m. today to 8 p.m. Sunday.

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