By Times staff reports
© St. Petersburg Times, published April 24, 2001
Juveniles charged with stealing mower
TRILACOOCHEE -- Two juveniles were arrested Saturday on charges of stealing a riding lawn mower from New Hope Baptist Church, 21431 U.S. 301.
Pasco County sheriff's deputies said a 12-year-old Trilacoochee boy admitted to the church's pastor, Stan Burke, that he had taken the lawn mower without permission.
A 16-year-old Trilacoochee girl, who knew the lawn mower was stolen, then drove it to Lacoochee, a report stated.
Both juveniles were arrested and charged with grand theft. Both were released.
WESLEY CHAPEL -- A Dade City teenager was arrested Thursday after he attacked a fellow student, according to a Pasco County sheriff's report.
The 14-year-old, a student at Weightman Middle School in Wesley Chapel, allegedly kicked a fellow male student in the legs and the face.
He then threw glue, pens and a pair of scissors at the victim, the report stated.
Witnesses describing the scene to deputies said the boy also tried to stab his classmate in the back with the scissors.
The boy was charged with aggravated battery and taken to the Pasco County juvenile detention center. Officials there declined comment on the boy's status.
NEW PORT RICHEY -- Three employees of a local video arcade business were arrested Monday in connection with a statewide investigation into illegal gaming activities.
The arrests stemmed from search warrants served last year as part of "Operation Bad Bet," an investigation led by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. The investigation targeted "Cherry Master" video slot machines, which are illegal in Florida, according to an FDLE news release.
Authorities raided the Odessa warehouse of Southeast Amusement and Vending Corp. on Sept. 25, seizing 10 "Cherry Master" machines. On Monday, the owner of the business, Paul Virgadamo, and two employees were arrested on charges of racketeering, keeping a gambling house and possession of an illegal coin-operated device.
Virgadamo, 48, and Boyce Abernathy, 52, were released from the Pasco County Jail after posting $20,000 bail each. The third employee, Kevin Krauss, 40, was not booked in Pasco County.
Seven people statewide were taken into custody Monday in connection with "Operation Bad Bet," and more arrests are planned.