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    Barber's son in right chair to help catch a suspect

    Walter Evans was getting a trim when a man walks in with clippers stolen from Evans' father's barbershop. He stalls and calls police.

    By CHRIS TISCH

    © St. Petersburg Times, published December 16, 2000


    CLEARWATER -- Though he has been cutting hair for more than 40 years, Charles Evans doesn't mind that his son sometimes goes to another barber.

    He's actually glad his son, Walter Evans, headed to another barber Thursday morning. By sitting in the right swivel chair in the right barber shop at the right time, Walter Evans helped capture a man who police say burglarized the senior Evans' shop -- as well as a half-dozen other businesses and autos in Clearwater recently.

    The story starts Dec. 9, when Charles Evans, 63, discovered that his car had been burglarized in front of his business, Charles's Barber Shop, 1405-B N Myrtle Ave. A black canvas bag with his initials on it was taken from the car, on which the window was smashed.

    Four days later, a burglar smashed the window on his shop's door and made off with two electric clippers, worth about $150.

    The next morning, Walter Evans, 32, headed to C & C Hair Studio, 702 Greenwood Ave. N. Because his father works afternoons and he needed a cut that morning, Evans sat in the chair of Charles Harris.

    Evans told Harris about his father's misfortune. Moments later, as Harris was finishing Evans' haircut, a man walked into the shop carrying a black canvas bag with a VCR inside.

    The man asked Harris whether he wanted to buy the VCR for $10. Harris declined. Evans thought of his father's break-in. He also remembered hearing about a string of burglaries in the area.

    Suddenly, according to Evans, the man said: "Well, I have some clippers I want to sell."

    The light went on in Evans' head. At the same time, Harris tapped him on the side of the neck.

    "It was just funny," Evans recalled. "I had just mentioned the break-in. So both of us were on top of it. I just couldn't believe it."

    The pair, without tipping off the suspect, launched a ploy to trap him.

    Evans told the man: "I'm looking for a good pair of clippers. Do they work?"

    Evans knew his father scratched his initials on everything he owned. He spotted the faint scratch of his father's initials on the clippers.

    Evans told the man he wanted the clippers, but didn't have the $20 he wanted for them. The suspect said he could wait at the shop while Evans went home to get the cash. Evans then went to his parents' house and called Clearwater police.

    "I just felt that if he robbed the barber shop around the corner, then I'm sure I could be next," Harris said Friday. "I don't want him on the street."

    The suspect, Louis Lee Daniels, 39, of 1001 N Greenwood Ave. No. 2503, was arrested and charged with two counts of dealing in stolen property.

    Officer Greg Schuster said he also found a crack pipe in Daniels' wallet and charged him with possession of drug paraphernalia.

    Schuster summoned Officer Carlos Lang to help him photograph the evidence, including the VCR. Minutes later, Lang received a call from a Clearwater clothing store reporting someone had stolen a VCR. The description matched the VCR Daniels had, police said.

    Police said they consider Daniels a suspect in a string of local burglaries.

    "There were no burglaries today," Schuster said Friday afternoon. "And we were getting hammered over the weekend. We had a whole bunch of burglaries, we caught him and now we have none."

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