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Device with radioactive material stolen

By Times staff writers

© St. Petersburg Times, published June 16, 2000


TAMPA -- Police warned the public Thursday about the theft of a device containing small amounts of radioactive material.

The device, called a Troxler Moisture Density Gauge, is used to measure the density and moisture of soil and contains two radioactive elements. It is about the size of a bread box and has two protruding rods.

It was was taken Wednesday or Thursday from a trailer at a construction site at 5221 16th Ave. S. Investigators think the thief targeted the $8,000 device, said Hillsborough sheriff's spokeswoman Debbie Carter.

Adam Weaver, an environmental specialist for the Florida Department of Health's Bureau of Radiation Control, said the device is dangerous only if tampered with. To pose a serious risk, someone would have to break into it, remove the radioactive material and keep the material in their pocket for days. The threat to the general public is minimal, he said.

Anyone with information is asked to call (813) 873-4831.

Deputies cleared in death of suspect

TAMPA -- Hillsborough State Attorney Harry Lee Coe has cleared the deputies involved in the May 17 fatal shooting of a robbery suspect.

Coe called the actions of sheriff's deputies Adolfo Luis, Craig Henson and James Stuart justified and said no criminal charges were warranted. After deputies cornered the suspect, Harry Green, in the Lakeside Villas apartment complex where he lived, Green jumped from his car and pointed a gun at the deputies, witnesses said.

The deputies said they yelled for him to drop the gun, but Green shot Luis in the face from about 6 feet away. Before falling, Luis returned fire along with Henson and Stuart. Green was hit multiple times and fell back into the car, where he died.

Luis survived the shooting and was taken to St. Joseph's Hospital, where he had surgery. Green, 43, was wanted for an armed robbery at a JCPenney in the Citrus Park Town Center. The deputies were attempting to serve Green with an arrest warrant.

Woman faces first-degree murder charge

TAMPA -- A man found dead beside a city street last month was killed by a woman he knew in an adult business, police said Thursday.

Alexa Blair Bennett, 26, a woman with no current address, was charged with first-degree murder, armed robbery and grand theft auto.

Police said Bennett got into an argument May 6 with Lamar Fitzpatrick, 47, of 7801 E Garrison St. in Tampa as the two sat in his car in the 300 block of W Flora Street. Police said Bennett shot Fitzpatrick once in the head with a large-caliber handgun, killing him. Then, detectives said, she took his money, dragged his body to the grassy shoulder of the road and took off in his car.

Bennett was arrested at 3 a.m. at Tampa International Airport by homicide detectives and airport police after she flew in from New Jersey. She is in the Hillsborough County jail with no bond.

Olympic theme: 'Celebrate the Journey'

A Tampa committee putting together a regional request to host the 2012 Olympics announced the theme for its bid Thursday -- "Celebrate the Journey."

The theme trumpets athletes who made the journey, people worldwide who see Florida as a vacation destination, the state as a leader in space exploration and the Games themselves, said Ed Turanchik, president of Florida 2012, the organizing committee.

The bid isn't due officially until Dec. 15.

The theme was made public at a reception at the organization's office and art gallery.

"Florida is a crossroads for the Northern and Southern hemispheres, a destination for many worldwide and a place from where humankind explores the universe," Turanchik said.

Substitute teachers' pay may rise

TAMPA -- The Hillsborough school district has proposed raising substitute teacher pay by 5 percent, bumping the pay of a substitute teacher with a bachelor's degree up from $8.50 an hour to $8.93.

The pay raise, which would be the first for substitute teachers since the 1994-95 school year, must be approved by the School Board.

Last month, the School Board approved a 5 percent salary increase for full-time teachers.

The total cost of the increased pay for substitute teachers would be $248,000.

Under the proposed pay raise, a teacher with a high school diploma would be paid $7.09 per hour rather than the current range of $6.75 to $6.25. Substitutes with an associate's degree or 60 hours of college credit would make $7.42 per hour rather than $7.07. The district also proposes creating a new pay category: $10 an hour for substitutes who are retired teachers and/or who hold a Florida teaching certificate.

The board is expected to vote on the salary hike at its meeting Tuesday.

-- From staff and wire reports

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