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Crime takes bite out of candidate


© St. Petersburg Times, published November 14, 2000

ST. PETERSBURG -- When mayoral candidate and current City Council member Larry Williams talks about crime on the campaign trail this winter, he'll now be speaking from experience.

Williams, 56, lost $700 in cash campaign contributions and dozens of checks made out to his campaign and business when his car was burglarized at his home early Saturday.

Most of the checks were stamped for deposit only before the break-in, and burglars discarded them in the street and a nearby garbage bin once they realized they would be tough to pass at a bank, said Dan Bates, police spokesman.

No one has been arrested, but police are trying to lift fingerprints.

"It's a pretty unraveling experience," Williams said Monday.

Williams couldn't get to the bank Friday to deposit the $48,000 in business checks and a week's worth of campaign contributions. The business checks were in his day planner, and the cash was in his briefcase. Both were left in his car Friday night.

Williams was awakened at 4:15 a.m. Saturday by noises and found two men in his 1996 Nissan Maxima, which was parked in his driveway on Second Street S, police said.

He got in another family car and tried to follow the two men, who jumped in a turquoise Ford Escort and drove away. When Williams got home, he called police.

He expects he can replace the money from any missing checks made out to his business. The $700 cash might be claimed on his homeowners' insurance, he said. Another $1,100 in checks to the campaign also were taken.

Recovered were the day planner, briefcase, baseball tickets and a note pad, police said.

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