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Pinellas Park police station cleared by old ordnance

By Times staff writers

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 31, 2000

PINELLAS PARK -- Pinellas Park's police station was evacuated Tuesday afternoon after a woman brought in two pieces of World War II ordnance that had been found in a deceased neighbor's home, authorities said.

Police said the munitions included a mortar round and another piece that appeared to be part of an antipersonnel mine. The woman came to turn them in about 2:30 p.m. and set them on the station's front reception desk.

The woman said an elderly neighbor had died, and others had found the devices while cleaning out his home, said Pinellas Park police Sgt. Sandy Forseth.

It was unclear whether the devices, at least a half-century old, were still potentially explosive.

But the Police Department has a set of rules for dealing with explosives, and those rules required the building to be evacuated for about a half-hour while a senior officer moved the devices to a nearby field, Forseth said.

A member of the Tampa bomb squad was called to remove the devices so they could be examined.

Gulfport officer plunges into woman's rescue in bay

GULFPORT -- Rookie police Officer Michael Torres is being called a hero after saving the life a 47-year-old woman who nearly drowned Monday night.

When Torres, 28, saw Marcia Wilkie struggling in water near the Gulfport Pier, he took off and secured his gun belt and swam 100 yards.

He was able to guide Wilkie to an anchor rope on a nearby sailboat and kept her calm until paramedics arrived. She was treated at St. Anthony's Hospital for minor scrapes and exhaustion. Police said she had been drinking before the incident.

Torres, who joined the department in October, was allowed to go home to change clothes, then he finished his shift.

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