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An arrest means only that a law enforcement officer attests there is probable cause to reasonably believe that a crime has been committed. An arrestee is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.


Week of September 29, 2014 - October 5, 2014

~ Thursday's Local/State News ~

Man Accused of Raping Woman
While She Slept Being Held
On $50,000 Bond

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office has arrested Rafael Pestana, 32, of the 700 block of 26th Avenue West, Bradenton.

Rafael Pestana

According to the arrest report, Pestana and a 33-year-old woman are live-in partners, have four children in common and live together as a family.

On Friday, Sept. 26th, shortly after midnight, deputies were called to the address regarding a domestic disturbance.

It was learned that both parties were involved in a verbal argument regarding economic hardships within the household.

While speaking with the woman, allegations of sexual battery were made.

She said during the early morning hours she was sleeping on her bed, along with her two youngest children, when she awoke just as Pestana was getting off of her. She noticed her pants were down around her ankles and that Pestana had just finished having sex with her.

She said that since she was sleeping, she could not have consented to having sex with him.

She told a deputy Pestana treats her like this on a nightly basis. She also said he calls her "his whore."

She said she is afraid of Pestana and even though his abnormal behavior has gotten progressively worse over the last few weeks, she has been afraid to report the behavior because she has no family in the state and would be alone and helpless with her four children.

Pestana was arrested and charged with Domestic Sexual Battery with Force, no Damage.

He remains in the Manatee County Jail on a bail bond of $50,000.

Man Arrested for Domestic
Aggravated Battery of
Pregnant Girlfriend

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office has arrested Stephen Litwin, 22, of 3623 34th Avenue East, Bradenton.

Stephen Litwin

The arrest report said Litwin and the victim in this case, Jamie Findley, have been in a relationship for two years and are expecting a child in the future. Both parties are aware of this as the victim is 14 weeks pregnant.

On Friday, Sept. 26th, at about 10:30 a.m., Jamie and Stephen were having an argument in their living room over cigarettes, call phone usage and not being employed.

during the argument, Stephen became heated, grabbed Jamie's phone from her and began to choke her with his right hand.

After choking Jamie, Stephen continued to yell at her and started to poke her forcefully with his fingers on her shoulder.

Jamie was then able to push and kick Stephen away as he continued to yell at her. She then told Stephen that she had called her grandmother for help, which then aggravated Stephen.

At that time, Stephen became enraged and began to choke Jamie. She told a deputy that she was unable to breathe for two short periods of time and both times had to forcefully fight her way away from Stephen.

Stephen realized that Jamie's grandmother had arrived on scene and he fled the area on foot.

The deputy observed scratch marks on the left side of Jamie's neck where she was grabbed, and multiple scratches on her left collar bone area indicated that she had been battered.

Stephen was arrested at about 1:30 that afternoon after he returned home.

He was charged with Domestic Aggravated Battery, Should Have Known Victim was Pregnant, and Domestic Battery by Strangulation.

He remains in the Manatee County Jail on a bail bond of $2,000.

Woman, Juvenile Arrested for
Shoplifting from Walmart

PALMETTO, Florida [NMT] -- The Palmetto Police Department has arrested Gabrielle Rodrigues, 23, of 1012 57th Avenue Drive East, in Bradenton, and an unnamed 16-year-old juvenile.

Gabrielle Rodrigues

The arrest report said on Monday, Sept. 29th, at about 4 p.m., Rodrigues and her 16-year-old friend entered Walmart at 508 10th Street East, Palmetto, along with Rodrigues' 4 juvenile children.

They began selecting items off the shelves.

They then placed the items they took inside a purse and stuffed animals. The stuffed animals were also taken off shelves prior to them being filled with other items.

After the items were concealed, they then exited the store, passing all points of sale without paying.

They were stopped outside the store by loss prevention personnel.

The total value of the items taken was $175.25.

Both Rodrigues and the 16-year-old were arrested and charged with Petit Theft Shoplifting. Rodrigues was additionally charged with causing the 16-year-old to become delinquent.

Rodrigues posted a $1,000 bail bond and was released from the Manatee County Jail.

MSO Offers YouTube Video
to Possibly Identify Burglars

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office is asking the public to view a YouTube surveillance video to possibly help identify two burglary suspects.

Detectives are investigating four recent burglaries in west Bradenton where lawn equipment and power tools were taken.

The most recent burglary occurred on September 28th in the 8000 block of 19th Ave. N.W. Two suspects took two pressure cleaners from the side of the residence and put them into a white four door sedan.

The suspects were captured on video committing the burglary.

If anyone has information on the suspects, they can call the MSO at 941-747-3011, ext. 2594 or CrimeStoppers at 1-866-634-TIPS (8477) -- or, to provide an anonymous e-Tip by computer, click here, or text MCSTIPS plus your message to 274637 (CRIMES).

Callers to the CrimeStoppers tip line and Tipsters who submit e-Tips by computer or by text message will remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward.

BPD Seeks Identity of
Grand Theft Suspect

BRADENTON, Florida [NMT] -- The Bradenton Police Department is asking the public's assistance in identifying a man who stole speakers from the Walgreens store located at 4210 State Road 64 East, Bradenton.

On 09/21/2014, at 3:32 p.m., the unknown Black male (pictured above), 25-30 years of age, 6'00"- 6'02", 190-210 lbs, hair very short or shaved, wearing a white sleeveless T-shirt and navy/black knee length gym shorts, entered the Walgreens store.

This suspect stole (3) Sony Ipad/Ipod speaker sets and left in a silver or gray, 2-door car with a sun roof and very darkly tinted windows. The driver side window/door was held together with tape.

If you recognize this individual or have had similar occurrences, please contact Officer Eleazar Garcia at 941-932-9373. Please reference BPD case #2014-7638.

Anyone having information with regard to this case is asked to call Officer Eleazar Garcia at 941-932-9373 or CrimeStoppers at 1-866-634-TIPS (8477) -- or, to provide an anonymous e-Tip by computer, click here, or text MCSTIPS plus your message to 274637 (CRIMES).

Callers to the CrimeStoppers tip line and Tipsters who submit e-Tips by computer or by text message will remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward.

SSO: Credit Card Scheme
May Have More Victims;
Three Arrested

SARASOTA COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office has charged three people in connection with a credit card scheme that is still being unraveled but includes fraudulent charges to fund inmate accounts at two local jails.

Above, L to R, Christina Martindale, Heather Smith, and Darryl Hall

Detectives arrested Christina Martindale on September 13 for Criminal Use of Personal Identification after learning she stole credit card information from a customer at the Sunoco gas station in the 3100 block of Bee Ridge Road where she worked. That card was used to put $200 on the Global Tel Link (GTL) phone account of her boyfriend, Darryl Hall, who was in custody at the Manatee County Jail at the time.

While Martindale was in the Sarasota County Jail, she called her sister, Heather Smith, who provided her with another victim's credit card information, which Martindale used to pay Willette Bail Bonds to secure her release from jail. On September 24, Martindale was arrested on a warrant for that crime and was released the next day.

As detectives worked multiple leads in this case, they were contacted by a woman who said her credit card statement showed two transactions totaling $200 to Government Payment Service or GPS, which was determined to be an inmate's commissary account at the Sarasota County Jail and one transaction to Sam's Wholesale Cars for $300.

Detectives determined the only thing in common for the latter two victims was that they had both booked horseback riding excursion through Horse Adventures, LLC, 4031 Murdock Avenue, Sarasota. The address is connected to both Martindale and Smith, whose mother owns the business and where Smith works as a bookkeeper.

Detectives spoke with inmates connected to both PIN numbers and learned Darryl Hall, who was now in the Sarasota County Jail, said he would pay them a small fee if they allowed funds to be put on their commissary accounts. Those funds were then disbursed to friends of Martindale's who were not incarcerated. They cashed those checks and gave the money to Martindale and Smith.

The extent of this criminal enterprise is still being investigated and additional charges are pending. As of now, Martindale is charged with two counts of Criminal Use of Personal Information and one count of Scheme to Defraud. She has not been located since her release on the 25th so anyone with information about her whereabouts is asked to call Criminal Investigations at 941.861.4900.

Hall and Smith are also charged with Scheme to Defraud and remain in the Sarasota County Jail.

The sheriff's office is urging the public, particularly anyone who booked a trip with Horse Adventures, to check their credit card statements for unknown charges titled GPS or GTL and may also include an inmate PIN number or name of the jail.

It is important to note that the commissary payout system operated as designed, since inmates are legally permitted to provide funds from their accounts to citizens. It was the criminal use of the victims' credit card information that facilitated this scheme.

1 Off-Duty Deputy, 2 Counties,
3 Men Arrested

CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- What started midday yesterday with a sharp-eyed Charlotte County deputy reporting a possible crime in progress in another county has resulted in three men being arrested on a variety of charges related to the theft of copper wire.

Above, L to R, Myles Cope, Samuel Centanne, and Adam Provencal

About 1:00 p.m. Monday, Sept. 29th, an off-duty deputy saw what she believed to be a burglary in progress at a location along Kings Highway in southern DeSoto County. She contacted the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Office to report the incident.

When a vehicle at the location left, heading into Charlotte County, the off-duty deputy followed the car until on-duty Charlotte deputies could stop it in the area of Tuckers Grade and I75. The driver of the vehicle was identified as Myles Ray Cope, 35, of 33631 Oil Well Road in Punta Gorda.

Both DeSoto and Charlotte County detectives went to the location of the traffic stop to further investigate the situation. At the request of DeSoto County, Charlotte County K9 deputies and aviation units responded to the Kings Highway location to search for other potential suspects. Their search continued until weather forced the helicopter to return to base.

As a result of Charlotte County detectives’ investigation into existing cases, detectives charged Cope with two counts each of Grand Theft and Dealing in Stolen Property stemming from two separate instances in which electrical wire had been removed from the roof connection to electrical meters. One instance occurred in Punta Gorda and the other in Port Charlotte. Cope was booked into the Charlotte County Jail early this morning.

Another man, Samuel Ross Centanne, 38, of 21405 Olean Blvd. in Port Charlotte, was charged with two counts of Grand Theft and Dealing in Stolen Property and three counts of False Verification of Ownership. Two of the cases were the same for which Cope was charged.

At the time of this report, a third man was also in custody. Adam Lee Provencal, 35, whose last reported address was 21491 Gladis Avenue in Port Charlotte, was taken into custody midday today. Information on charges is pending at the time.

Cope is being held on a total $100,000 bond. Due to bond on a previous charge being revoked, Centanne is being held without bond.

Detectives in both Charlotte and DeSoto Counties are continuing their investigations.

Man Accused of Killing
4-Month-Old Puppy

PALM COAST, Florida [NMT/WKMG] -- A Central Florida man is accused of killing a 4-month-old puppy at his girlfriend's house, Orlando television station WKMG reported.

The Daytona Beach News-Journal reports 27-year-old Wesley Jackson was charged with cruelty to animals after a Sept. 16th event that left the puppy dead. Jackson was arrested Friday.

According to a police report, the Chihuahua puppy had "multiple bruises on its body and a broken back right leg." The puppy, named Little Man, was already dead when it was taken to a veterinarian's office.

The dog's owner, Mark Mitchell, told authorities the dog was alive when he left for work that morning. When his teenage daughter came home from school, she saw Jackson "standing over the dog."

Jackson was released on $2,000 bail.

It's not known whether Jackson has an attorney, WKMG said.


~ Wednesday's Local/State News ~

Cedar Hammock Fire Rescue
to Present Exemplary Duty
Commendation Award

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- Cedar Hammock Fire Rescue is pleased to announce the presentation of an Exemplary Duty Award to City of Bradenton Firefighter Ricardo Rivera for his actions at a fire located at Bayshore on the Lake Apartments, in the Cedar Hammock Fire Control District.

Above, Firefighter Ricardo Rivera

The award presentation will be held at Cedar Hammock Fire Station 1 / Administration 5200 26 Street West, Bradenton, Florida, on Thursday October 9, 2014, at Cedar Hammock Board of Fire Commission meeting. The meeting will begin promptly at 6:00 p.m.

On September 7th, Firefighter Rivera was off duty when a kitchen fire occurred in the apartment building he lives in. He made his way up the stairs to the fourth floor apartment, collecting fire extinguishers on his way and made entry into the smoke charged apartment and extinguished the fire. The apartment was home to three occupants who safely escaped the fire.

Reports from the responding Fire Companies indicated black smoke issuing from the fourth floor apartment. Firefighter Rivera selflessly exposed himself to harm by extinguishing this fire which could have caused extensive property damage and significant harm to residents of the building and responding firefighters. By Firefighter Rivera's quick actions, he turned a potentially large loss into a minor incident.

The Exemplary Duty Commendation Award is awarded to an individual who performed a highly credible accomplishment or service bringing public acclaim or appreciation to the member, their department, or the profession as a result of training, devotion to duty, or service to the public.

Cedar Hammock Fire Rescue appreciates the actions taken by Firefighter Rivera on September 7, 2014, which exemplify the award criteria of a devotion to duty of service to the public. His actions that day bring public acclaim of this department's appreciation of him and the City of Bradenton Fire Department.

[Ed. Note: Also see our report of the incident on our Health & Safety page.]

Manatee K-9 Team Credited
with Arrest of Man Accused
of Grand Theft Auto, Burglary

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office has arrested Sammy Balsinger, 48, of Bradenton.

Above Sammy Balsinger and MSO K-9 Ziggy
(Prior mug shot of Balsinger)

A sheriff's report said on Tuesday, Sept. 30th, at about 11 a.m., a White male, later identified as Sammy Balsinger, stole a 2002 Green Ford Ranger pickup from the parking lot of R&R Custom Wheels and Tires, 403 Cortez Road West, Bradenton.

Deputies started to check the area for the truck and at 11:30 a.m., the vehicle was located in the 4800 block of 5th Street West, stuck in a field.

Multiple units saturated the area as Deputy Sutton started to track with his K-9 Ziggy.

The track led to the Tangelo Park (Orlando Circle) area where Janice Kehoe advised that a White male, later identified as Sammy, entered into her home at 903 Lemonwood Ave and tried to steal her car keys.

Janice recovered her car keys from Sammy and she ordered him out of her home.

The track continued through Tangelo Park.

The investigation led deputies to 906 Temple Ave.

As deputies searched 906 Temple Ave, Sammy was heard in the garage, but was not responding to orders to exit.

Once Deputy Sutton entered the garage with K-9 Ziggy, Sammy gave up and was placed under arrest.

EMS responded for a possible broken leg that Sammy said he received when he jumped over a fence. He was transported to a local emergency room by EMS.

Sammy Balsinger is charged with Vehicle Theft, Burglary and Resisting Arrest without Violence.

There are additional charges from other incidents that are actively being investigated with him as the suspect.

He will remain in the Manatee County Jail without bond at this time.

Theft of MCSO Bicycle Thwarted
During Sting Operation

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office has arrested Angel Luis Rivera, 41, of Bradenton.

Angel Rivera

The arrest report said the sheriff's office developed an operation to target individuals involving recent thefts and crimes of opportunity in Manatee County.

On Sunday, Sept. 28th, at about 2:45 p.m., a Manatee County Sheriff's Office owned bicycle was placed on the north side of Bradenton Quick Mart, 3006 14th Street West, in a well lit area several feet from the building.

After placing the bicycle there, Rivera was clearly observed riding a bicycle and approaching the MSCO bicycle and parking several feet away.

Undercover deputies watched as Rivera clearly expressed an interest in the MCSO bicycle, which was evident because he stared at it for long periods of time, intermittently looking around to see if anyone was watching.

Moments later, Rivera grabbed the handlebars of the MCSO bicycle and walked it toward his bicycle. He then got back on his bicycle while holding on to the handle bars of the MCSO bicycle, and started riding westbound from the Bradenton Quick Mart, in an attempt to steal the MCSO bicycle.

Several units converged and a stop was conducted on Rivera; he was taken into custody without incident.

The bicycle was valued at $500.

Rivera was charged with Grand Theft Bicycle.

He later posted a $1,500 bail bond and was released from the Manatee County Jail.

Attempted Armed Home
Invasion Robbery Reported

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office reported an attempted armed home invasion robbery that occurred on Tuesday, Sept. 30th, at about 1 a.m., at a residence in the 3200 block of 51st Avenue Drive West, Bradenton.

A sheriff's report said unnamed victim #2, 21 years old, was standing in the kitchen of his residence when he heard a knock at the door.

His father, unnamed victim #1, 51 years of age, walked to the door with victim #2.

The subjects at the door refused to identify themselves and victim #2 began to open the door.

The suspects pointed guns at the victims and demanded money.

Victim #1 was armed with a handgun and the suspects began to retreat.

The door was closed before the suspects made entry into the house.

After the door closed, the victims both heard one gunshot.

Fortunately, no one was injured and nothing was taken.

The would be robbers were described as 3 Black males wearing dark clothing with dark colored masks over their faces. All 3 were armed with black handguns. They appeared to be in their 20s.

Anyone with any information about this case is asked to call the Manatee County Sheriff's Office at (941) 747-3011 or CrimeStoppers at 1-866-634-TIPS (8477) -- or, to provide an anonymous e-Tip by computer, click here, or text MCSTIPS plus your message to 274637 (CRIMES).

Callers to the CrimeStoppers tip line and Tipsters who submit e-Tips by computer or by text message will remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward.

Steube: Dep. Matt Kenyan Named
Deputy of the Month for
September 2014

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- Manatee County Sheriff Brad Steube has named Dep. Matt Kenyan Deputy of the Month for September 2014.

A press release from the sheriff's office said on September 9th, Deputy Matthew Kenyan responded to a complaint at a motel where a woman was screaming for help.

When he arrived, Deputy Kenyan found an unresponsive male with no pulse who may have overdosed.

Deputy Kenyan communicated the situation to dispatch, began CPR and was able to restore and maintain a pulse until emergency medical personnel arrived.

Due to his ability to stay calm and relay pertinent information clearly, EMS was able to arrive in a timely manner with all necessary equipment.

His actions reflect a good example patrol-dispatch communications and his knowledge as a first responder saved a life, for which Deputy Matthew Kenyan is awarded Deputy of the Month for September 2014.

Sheriff Steube congratulates Dep. Kenyan.

Two Tampa Men Arrested
for Credit Card Fraud

SARASOTA COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office has arrested two Tampa men who drove to Venice to use cloned credit cards at area Publix stores.

Above, L to R, Jerome Stubbs and Kelson Clemont

The manager of the Jacaranda Boulevard location reported that a man tried to buy four gift cards but had to go through multiple credit cards before he found an active one. The last four digits on the card did not match the last four on the receipt.

She provided a description of the suspect and a partial tag number for the van he got into, and called to alert the store at Jacaranda and US 41.

Deputies also responded to that location and found the suspect and the driver in the parking lot.

After identifying the suspect as Jerome Stubbs, deputies learned he had a Hillsborough County warrant and determined the 14 credit cards in his possession were counterfeit.

Driver Kelson Clemont gave deputies permission to search his van and they found a handheld skimming device, an American Express card with Master Card track data on the magnetic strip and a firearm concealed between the driver's seat and center console.

Stubbs is charged with Trafficking in Counterfeit Credit Cards and Clement is charged with Possession of a Cloned Credit Card, Possession of a Credit Card Skimming Device and Possession of a Firearm during the Commission of a Felony.

Reports of Suspicious Van;
Real or Just Rumor?

CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office has received several inquiries about a suspicious white van in the Peace River Shores area of Punta Gorda that we would like to clarify and ask for the public’s help.

On Friday September 26, two residents in the Peace River Shores area, which is located off the northern section of US 17 near the DeSoto County line, reported that they had noticed a late 1990’s model white Ford Econoline van in the area for about a week. They said the van seemed to be in the area about the time that school busses are dropping off student in the afternoons. Those residents requested the Sheriff’s Office step up patrols in the areas of school bus stops.

Shortly afterward, someone who declined to provide contact information called the Sheriff’s Office to report there was a man in a van parked along US 17 between the two sections of Washington Loop. That area is about one mile south of the Peace River Shores area. The caller said there was a sign on the van that said “Free Puppies” so the caller was afraid the man was trying to tempt children to his van. That caller did not give any description of the van or the man.

As a result of these two calls, the Sheriff’s Office has indeed increased patrols in the area of bus stops along US 17 and Peace River Shores. We have not, at this point, received enough timely information to have located the van or its driver. And the rumors of reports of an actual attempted abduction are just that – rumors.

“Children should always be wary of any stranger trying to lure them into a vehicle for any reason,” Sheriff Bill Prummell said. “We want our children and their parents to feel safe on their way to and from school.”

Anyone who has information concerning the suspicious white van or any other suspicious vehicle is encouraged to contact the Sheriff’s Office at (941) 639-2101 to report the incident.

Man Linked to 12 Sexual
Attacks in Leesburg Area

LEESBURG, Florida [NMT/WKMG] -- Orlando television station WKMG reported the man who is accused of burglarizing a senior citizen's home and sexually battering the victim may be linked to a dozen other attacks in the area, Leesburg police say.

Anthony Maurice Foster, 46, of Leesburg, was arrested in the latest attack on Saturday afternoon by Lake County Sheriff's Office.

Police on Monday served warrants on Foster for two more of the five rapes DNA testing has linked him to. Two other cases are on hold, one because of partial match issues, police said.

Foster is also believed to be the attacker in seven more unsolved rape cases police say they've been investigating, bringing the total number of alleged attacks to 12, dating back to 2006.

Police said they believe Foster watched the victims, all elderly women living alone, for some time before attacking them, making sure they were alone or asleep.

Foster will have another first appearance on Tuesday on the two newest warrants, WKMG said.


~ Tuesday's Local/State News ~

Man Tried to Obtain DL by Fraud,
Arrested for Possession of Pot
Over 20 Grams, both Felonies

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office has arrested Kenneth J. Wilson, 32, of 4440 123rd Street Court West, in the Village of Cortez.

Kenneth Wilson

According to the first of two arrest reports, on Thursday, Sept. 25th, at about 11 a.m., Wilson was at the Tax Collector's Office, 819 301 Blvd. West, attempting to obtain a driver license.

He had marked the application to indicate that he had never had a driver license and never had one suspended. However, that was determined to be not true. He had driver licenses issued in Arizona and in Washington. The Washington license was suspended for Driving While License Suspended.

The Tax Collector associate who was processing Wilson told Deputy Russell Jacobus, who is stationed there, that Wilson was less than honest and seemed nervous; he also could not confirm some of the identity questions they normally ask people.

Upon sighting Dep. Jacobus, Wilson asked where the bathroom was and allegedly set out to go there, but actually fled the office. Dep. Jacobus looked for him inside and outside the office to no avail.

Wilson left all of his identity papers behind. He was not arrested at that time, but was charged with Using False Information to Obtain a Driver License, and Dep. Jacobus asked for a capias warrant to be issued.

Then, on Friday, Sept. 26th, deputies went to the address Wilson gave as his residence. They spotted him sitting in a white pickup truck in the driveway.

They approached the truck, verified that it was Wilson inside and arrested him immediately.

In a search of Wilson subsequent to his arrest, deputies found a large amount of marijuana in his wind breaker's pocket. The marijuana weighed out to 47.7 grams (1.7 ounces).

He was additionally charged with Possession of Marijuana Over 20 Grams.

He later posted a bail bond in the amount of $3,000 and was released from the Manatee County Jail.

Goodwill Employee Arrested
for Theft from Register

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office has arrested Chadwick Holloman, 23, of 302 26th Avenue West, Bradenton.

Chadwick Holloman

The arrest report said Holloman was an employee of Goodwill Industries, 5512 Manatee Avenue West, Bradenton, and was employed as a cashier.

On Thursday, Sept. 25th, a witness advised loss prevention personnel at Goodwill that they thought Holloman may be stealing money.

On Saturday, Sept. 27th, loss prevention personnel began watching Holloman as he serviced customers at his register.

Before long, the loss prevention person observed Holloman take a $20 bill from a sale transaction and place it in his left pocket.

Holloman was escorted to the office, where he admitted taking the $20 bill to loss prevention personnel.

Post-Miranda, Holloman also admitted it to a deputy.

He was arrested and charged with Petit Theft.

He was released from the Manatee County Jail after posting a $120 bail bond.

Woman Arrested for
Prostitution Online

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office has arrested Tamika Shannon, 35, of the 2600 block of 17th Street, in Sarasota.

Tamika Shannon

The arrest report said on Wednesday, Sept. 17th, an undercover detective attached to the Special Investigation Division Tactical Unit was searching an online website known to be used by prostitutes. He opened the ad and saw that it had a phone number to call for her "services."

He called the phone number and they arranged to meet at the Ramada Inn, 7150 North Tamiami Trail, at a certain time.

He arrived and met with Shannon in the parking lot.

After a brief conversation, Shannon agreed to allow the U/C detective to perform oral sex on her and allow him to have sexual intercourse, both for $100.

The 'good deal' sign was given and Shannon was arrested by the takedown team without incident.

She was charged with misdemeanor Prostitution, 2nd Offense.

She was released from the Manatee County Jail after she posted a $120 bail bond.

Man Breaks Leg Escaping
Attempted Robbery
by Hooker, Pimp

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office reported an attempted robbery that occurred on Sunday, Sept. 28th, at about 10 p.m., outside a residence in the 6600 block of 19th Street East, Bradenton.

A sheriff's report said the victim, Danni Villatoro, of Sarasota, crawled to the listed address from a vacant parking lot across the street. He called for help, and the workers called 911.

Upon arrival of deputies, the victim (Villatoro) had a broken left leg (femur bone).

He initially told deputies he was in a car accident, and the female was possible still in the vehicle.

Several units search the area with negative results.

He then gave another story that he possibly fell out of a car, or he was hit by a car.

He was not being truthful with information while on scene.

After three hours, he then told deputies that he had picked up a prostitute named Taylor. They drove around, used drugs and had sex.

After this, she wanted to pick up a friend, so Villatoro let Taylor drive his vehicle since she knew where they were going. They drove to an unknown location where they picked up a black male.

Villatoro got into the back seat, as did the black male. They then drove to the listed address, where the black male pulled out a knife and asked Villatoro for all his money.

At this time Villatoro tried to exit the vehicle possibly while it was moving, and the black male pushed him out of the car.

The suspects then fled in the victim's vehicle.

Anyone with any information about this case is asked to call the Manatee County Sheriff's Office at (941) 747-3011 or CrimeStoppers at 1-866-634-TIPS (8477) -- or, to provide an anonymous e-Tip by computer, click here, or text MCSTIPS plus your message to 274637 (CRIMES).

Callers to the CrimeStoppers tip line and Tipsters who submit e-Tips by computer or by text message will remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward.

Dept. of Health in Manatee:
"Get Your Flu Vaccine
Before Halloween"

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- Flu season is almost here, and the Florida Department of Health in Manatee County (DOH-Manatee) is urging residents and visitors to take precautions to reduce their risk of infection.

Influenza (flu) is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death.

"Getting vaccinated is the single best way to protect yourself and your family against the flu,” said DOH-Manatee Administrator Dr. Jennifer Bencie. "We are encouraging everyone to get your flu vaccination before Halloween, wash your hands often, and stay home when you are sick.”

Everyone aged six months and older should get the flu vaccine. Vaccination to prevent influenza is particularly important for people who are at high risk of serious complications from influenza, such as pregnant women, children under the age of 5 and people of any age with certain chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease).

It can take up to two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against influenza virus infection. In the meantime, you are still at risk for getting the flu. That is why it is important to get vaccinated early in the fall, before the flu season really gets under way.

Symptoms of the flu may include headache, fever, severe cough, runny nose or body aches.

Contact your health care provider immediately if symptoms appear.

DOH-Manatee offers the following prevention tips:

~ Get vaccinated every year since flu viruses change.

~ Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.

~ Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

~ Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth since germs are spread this way.

~ Avoid close contact with sick people.

~ If you or your children are sick with a flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone, unless you need medical care.

For more information, visit or call DOH - Manatee at (941) 748-0747.

BPD Officer Liza Moyett Named
Female Officer of the Week

BRADENTO, Florida [NMT] -- The Bradenton Police Department has named Officer Lixa Moyett as the Female Officer of the Week.

Above, BPD Officer Lixa Moyett

Officer Lixa Moyett was born and raised in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico. At the age of 15, she graduated from high school in San Lorenzo, Puerto Rico.

In 1999 Officer Moyett joined the Puerto Rico Police Department where she had the opportunity to work in several specialized units. She attended many trainings and schools. During her tenure at the Puerto Rico Police Department, she obtained an Associate degree in Police Science from the Criminal Justice University College in Guarabo, Puerto Rico.

In 2002 she moved from Puerto Rico to Bradenton, FL where she continued to further her Law Enforcement career.

In November 2003, she was hired by the Bradenton Police Department as a Police Officer.

In 2005 she recognized the issue of gang activity and the rising gang related criminal activity in the community, and contributed to the development of the Bradenton Police Departments Gang Unit.

Officer Moyett has served as a Gang Investigator and a member of the Gang Investigator’s Association. Officer Moyett’s duties as a member Gang Investigators’ Association was the documentation and development of gang intelligence and investigation of gang related crimes.

In 2008 Officer Moyett collaborated with other agencies and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in the training of Law Enforcement Officers in Gang Awareness called “Gang Wise.”

In 2008 Officer Moyett, became a certified instructor in this field. She is an instructor at the Manatee Technical Institute where she teaches new recruits assigned to the Law Enforcement Academy.

Officer Moyett is currently assigned to the Detective Division.

She is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Forensic Psychology. Her goal is to further her college studies to obtain a Doctorate’s degree in this field. Officer Moyett is Fluent in English and Spanish.

The Bradenton Police Department is a professional law enforcement agency which uses modern technology, state-of-the-art equipment and training techniques. Currently 120 sworn officers and 31 civilian employees represent the Bradenton P.D. The Bradenton Police Department services a population of 50,672 within a 14.44 sq mile jurisdiction located on the Central West Coast of Florida.

Celebrate National Night Out 2014
with free fun in Sarasota County

SARASOTA COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- Our community will join thousands of others nationwide in celebrating National Night Out 2014 with a local event aimed at crime prevention. The Sarasota County celebration will be held from 5-7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 7, at Woodmere Park, 3951 Woodmere Park Blvd., Venice.

Residents are invited to come out and enjoy free food, entertainment and activities for children. The event will also feature door prizes, a SWAT junior obstacle course and Strider bike course, and self-defense, K-9 and crime prevention demos from the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office. Visitors will be able to meet the Oriole Bird and Red-E Fox.

Parking is free, but neighborhood residents are encouraged to join together in walking or biking to the event.

National Night Out is co-sponsored by Sarasota County, the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office, Target and Strider. Sarasota is a past national award winner for outstanding participation.

The national event organizer is the nonprofit National Association of Town Watch (NATW), with events in more than 16,000 communities from all 50 states, U.S, territories, Canadian cities and military bases worldwide. More than 37 million people participated in National Night Out last year, and 2014's event is expected to be the largest ever.

The event is designed to:

~ heighten crime and drug prevention awareness;

~ generate support for, and participation in, local anticrime efforts;

~ strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships;

~ send a message to criminals letting them know neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.

"This is a night for America to stand together and promote awareness, safety, and neighborhood unity," said Matt Peskin, national project coordinator. "National Night Out showcases the vital importance of police-community partnerships and citizen involvement in our fight for a safer nation. On NNO, we invite neighborhoods nationwide to join us and 'give crime a going away party.' "

For more information, call the Sarasota County Contact Center at 941-861-5000 or visit or

SPD: Two Busted
Over the Weekend

SARASOTA, Florida [NMT] -- Over the weekend, Sarasota Police officers seized $5,540 in U.S. currency, 172.6 grams of marijuana and a Ruger .380 LCP Pistol in two separate cases.

Above, L to R, Dillon Pizzarrello and Malachi Scurry

On Saturday, September 27, 2014, at approximately 4:15 a.m., a vehicle traveling northbound performed a U-turn in the 2200 block of South Tamiami Trail in Sarasota and drove in front of a vehicle heading southbound. The vehicle struck another vehicle.

When officers arrived, they located 172.6 grams of marijuana and $5,540 in U.S. currency in the vehicle along with rolling papers and baggies. The driver of the vehicle, Dillon Pizzarello, 20, of Sarasota, was charged with felony possession of marijuana with intent to sell over 20 grams and misdemeanor driving under the influence with personal injury. Once at the Sarasota County Jail, Pizzarello provided a sample of his breath and it registered as a 0.22 and 0.21.

On Monday, September 29, 2014 at approximately 2:30 a.m., officers responded to the 1500 block of Main Street in Sarasota for a disturbance. Officers were notified one of the subjects threatened to use a firearm. Officers made contact with the subject and located a Ruger .380 LCP Pistol in the subject’s clothing. Malachi Brandon-Jamaal Scurry, 21, of Sarasota, was charged with felony carrying a concealed firearm.

Speed-Trap Town May
Lose Police Force

WALDO, Florida [NMT/WKMG] -- A tiny north Florida town known as a speed trap may lose its police department, Orlando television station WKMG reported.

Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell tells The Gainesville Sun that her office will not extend a contract with the town of Waldo to provide a temporary police commander.

Waldo is one of only two U.S. towns officially labeled "traffic traps" by AAA.

Two Waldo police chiefs resigned after state investigations were launched into illegal activities, including speeding ticket quotas.

City officials have said Waldo has a speeding problem, and tickets helped pay for the city's small police force.

With declining property tax income and ticket revenues, the city isn't clear how it will pay for the force.

The city council at its next meeting will decide whether to rely on sheriff's patrols instead, WKMG said.



~ Monday's Local/State News ~

Manatee Sheriff Arrested Man
for Possession of Marijuana
with Intent to Sell; 1+ Pound
(18.3 Ounces) Found, Along
with AR-15 Semi-Auto Rifle

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office has arrested Trevaris Markeith Carter, 28, of 900 E. 21st Street, Building A, Apt. 1, in Palmetto.

Travaris Carter

According to the arrest report, on Thursday, Sept. 25th, at about 8:30 a.m., a bail bondsman knocked on Carter's front door while Dep. Eason stood by the back door.

When Dep. Eason heard a man open the front door and admit his name was "Carter," Dep. Eason went around to the front door and went inside.

Carter was handcuffed and Dep. Eason advised Carter he had warrants out for his arrest.

Carter asked for his phone, which was in a bedroom, so he could call his mother. Dep. Easton agreed to get the phone for him (and not let Carter get the phone for himself for obvious safety reasons).

As Dep. Eason was retrieving the phone at the request of Carter, Dep. Eason saw in plain view an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle laying on top of a pillow, which was on top of a dresser. directly beside the rifle were three clear Mason jars, each full of package green leafy substance, which appeared to be marijuana.

Dep. Eason retreated out of the residence with Carter and called the Special Investigations Division for assistance.

It was later determined that Carter was not the person who had the warrants. The last name of Carter was correct, but the first name was different. However, by the time that was learned, the rifle and narcotics in plain view were already seen.

Dep. Kim Zink arrived from Special Investigations and stayed on scene until a search warrant was written and signed by a judge. The search warrant was read to the live-in girlfriend on scene and the warrant was then executed.

Det. Zink found the AR-15 on the dresser, which was loaded with 18 rounds of .22 caliber ammunition. She also observed the three glass jars with marijuana. In total, the marijuana weighted 512 grams (18.3 ounces, or slightly over 1 pounds. She also found baggies, 2 scales, and a shoe box with $622 in cash inside it.

Carter was arrested and charged with Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Sell, Possession of a Weapon by a Convicted Felon, and Possession of Ammunition by a Convicted Felon.

He later posted a bail bond in the amount of $16,500 and was released from the Manatee County Jail.

Man Arrested for Beating
Woman Bloody Over
Missing Cell Phone

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office has arrested Lee Anthony Wilson, 41, of 5719 11th Street East, Bradenton.

Lee Wilson

The arrest report said on Thursday, Sept. 25th, at about 3:30 a.m., a deputy was dispatched to the area of the above address regarding a female who was responsive but needing medical attention.

Upon arrival, the deputy observed an unnamed victim standing on the sidewalk, alone, profusely bleeding from the face.

Her first statement was "I just got beat up by Lee Wilson over a cell phone."

The victim then provided Wilson's address. She was able to provide adequate information about what had transpired, despite being injured. The victim alleged that her friend, Lee Wilson, had gotten upset at her, alleging that she stole his cell phone.

The victim attempted to leave his residence when Wilson began to follow her as she traveled northbound on foot. Wilson was able to catch up to the victim where he allegedly grabbed her from behind, turned her body to face his and struck her in the face three times with a closed fist.

The victim appeared to have sustained injuries that are consistent with being battered in the face. The victim said her nose was broken and a front tooth was loose.

The victim was subsequently transported via EMS to Manatee Memorial Hospital.

Wilson was located at his residence. He made numerous spontaneous statements saying, "If I hit her I wouldn't know it because I have been drinking." Wilson said he was upset at the victim for taking his cell phone. But Wilson later explained that he located his cell phone inside his residence after the victim left.

Wilson was arrested and charged with Aggravated Battery.

He remains in the Manatee County Jail on a bail bond of $10,000.

BPD Arrested Man for Grand
Theft of Electronic Items,
Backpack from Walmart

BRADENTON, Florida [NMT] -- The Bradenton Police Department has arrested Jeremy F. Wilson, 28, of 701 17th Avenue West, Bradenton.

Jeremy Wilson

The arrest report said on Wednesday, Sept. 24th, at about 10:30 a.m., Wilson entered the Walmart store located at 5315 Cortez Road West, Bradenton.

He proceeded to the electronics department and quickly selected high dollar items off the shelf.

After selecting the items, he proceeded to the hardware aisle where he was observed by loss prevention personnel removing the security device on one of the items he had just selected.

The then selected a backpack off a shelf which he then used to conceal the previously selected merchandise.

Once the merchandise was concealed inside the backpack, Wilson then proceeded to the front of the store, where he passed all final points of sale without rendering payment for the merchandise.

He was stopped outside the store by loss prevention personnel and detained for arrival of police.

The total amount of merchandise taken and recovered was $555.76.

Wilson was arrested and charged with Grand Theft Shoplifting.

He later posted a $1,500 bail bond and was released from the Manatee County Jail.

Manatee Sheriff Seeks Man
Who Showed Graphic
Photo to 2 Minor Girls

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office is actively searching for a man who showed an obscene photo to two minor girls.

A sheriff's report said on Saturday, Sept. 27th, at about 8:30 a.m., two unnamed juvenile females exited the Dollar Tree store located at 6206 U.S. 301 North, in Ellenton, and were approached by a White male.

The man walked directly up to them and held out his cell phone.

The two female minors observed a picture of a penis on the screen.

The man asked them, "Do you girls know what this is?" to which one replied, "I do."

The man then said, "Do you want to play with it?"

The two girls immediately walked next door to where one of the girl's mother was and the man fled on foot towards the south.

The man was described as a White male, 25-30 year of age, 5'10" tall, 160 pounds, Light brown hair, light green eyes, with a goatee, and was last seen wearing khaki shorts, a white shirt with the number 24 on the back, black shoes, and he was carrying a black iPhone.

Anyone with any information about this case is asked to call the Manatee County Sheriff's Office at (941) 747-3011 or CrimeStoppers at 1-866-634-TIPS (8477) -- or, to provide an anonymous e-Tip by computer, click here, or text MCSTIPS plus your message to 274637 (CRIMES).

Callers to the CrimeStoppers tip line and Tipsters who submit e-Tips by computer or by text message will remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward.

Man's Shooting Being Called
Accidental by Sheriff

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office reported a shooting that they are calling accidental that occurred on Thursday, Sept. 25th, at about 11 p.m., at a residence in the 400 block of 40th Street East, Palmetto.

A sheriff's report said Brenden Drake, had a gun in his lap that fell on the floor.

The small caliber handgun hit the floor, causing it to discharge a round that entered into Drake's left foot.

EMS was called to the scene to treat Drake's wound.

The shooting is being called accidental by the sheriff's office.

Upper Manatee River Road
Shut Down; Rising Water
Levels the Cause

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office reported Upper Manatee River Road is shut down.

A sheriff's report said Upper Manatee River Road is now shut down due to rising water levels which are the result of water being released from the Manatee County dam.

A low lying portion of Upper Manatee River Road just west of Rye Road is now under water.

Information from officials at the dam have said that they will continue the release of water for the next four days to lower the Manatee lake water levels.

High water signs have been posted and barricades are in place at this time.

Woodstock Road is also experiencing flooding as of this writing.

WMFR: Heavy rain
Causes Roof Collapse

CORTEZ, Florida [NMT] -- The West Manatee Fire district responded to a reported roof collapse with entrapment in the 3800 Block of Catalina Dr. around 06:30 p.m.

A ladder truck, battalion, fire marshal, EMS, and MSO all responded.

Upon arrival, WMFR found the entire roof over the main living room area collapsed and water from the rest of the building rushing into the structure.

One occupant was found at the entrance and was assisted to EMS for treatment.

The building houses four units with only two being occupied at the time.

The county building inspector declared the building unsafe for occupancy.

There was no dollar value for the loss attached to the report.

Assistance Asked to Identify

Woman Who Left Puppies

SARASOTA COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office is asking the public for assistance identifying the female who left puppies outside a local veterinarian's office.

A tech at Nokomis Veterinary Clinic found a Pampers box when she arrived at work on September 19. She opened the box and found puppies that surveillance video showed were left at the door 14 hours earlier. The puppies were large breed, possibly American bulldog and were about four weeks old.

Animal Services would like to speak to that person to learn more about the litter and the circumstances involved. The puppies are not available for adoption but are being well cared for.

Anyone who believes they know this woman please call (941) 861-9516. Again, please only call with identification information.

The video is on the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office YouTube channel.

It is important to note that there are a number of 24-hour animal care facilities so anyone who needs to relinquish pets for any reason should do so at one of these facilities if there is an immediate need after-hours.

Two Arrested for Shooting
at Occupied Vehicle

CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- Two Port Charlotte men have been arrested on charges they were involved in shooting at a vehicle that was following their car Monday evening in the South Punta Gorda Heights area.

Above, L to R, Norvell Johnson and Jamele Bedell

According to reports, deputies were called to the area of Mango Drive area of Punta Gorda at about 8:30 Monday evening because of gunshots in the area. One of the first people deputies talked to said he had heard several gunshots and tires squealing. When he went outside, he found that the rear window of his SUV had been broken out.

Deputies had received information that a Cadillac was involved in the incident, including a partial tag number. A deputy who was headed toward the Mango Drive area noticed a white Cadillac with a tag number that was similar to the partial tag leaving the Seven Palms Apartment complex, located off Taylor Road. He followed it as it went north over the US 41 bridge into Charlotte Harbor. He and other deputies stopped the Cadillac in the area of the Race Trac station.

Two of the occupants of the Cadillac were identified as Norvell Johnson, 19, of 18496 Ebb Avenue in Port Charlotte, and Jamele Jaquan Bedell, 18, of 18441 Holly Avenue in Port Charlotte.

While the deputies were at the gas station, a man in a white Ford pickup truck pulled in and said that the men in the Cadillac had been shooting at him. Deputies located what appeared to be a bullet hole in the driver’s side exterior mirror of his truck. Other deputies at the Mango Drive location found several 9mm shell casings in the roadway.

Detectives were unable to locate a firearm in the Cadillac, but on Tuesday they received a tip that Johnson had put a handgun in a backpack and given it to an acquaintance who lived in the Seven Palms Apartment area. The time when Johnson was said to have come by was consistent with the time of the reported shooting and prior to the Cadillac being seen leaving that same area. The acquaintance’s family turned over the backpack to Forensics personnel. They found it contained a 9mm handgun that had the same type of ammunition in it as the shell casings found along Mango Drive.

After having taken statements from various witnesses and collecting the evidence in this case, detectives charged both Johnson and Bedell with Shooting into an Occupied Vehicle. Johnson was arrested late Tuesday evening and Bedell was arrested mid-day on Wednesday. Johnson is being held on a $250,000 bond and Bedell is being held on a $200,000 bond.

Detectives do not anticipate any other arrests, but additional charges may be pending.

Emaciated Dog Found Chained in
Field with 24-Pound Logging Chain

KISSIMMEE, Florida [NMT/WKMG] -- Osceola County Animal Services is investigating an animal cruelty case after a dog was found severely emaciated and chained up in a field, Orlando television station WKMG reported.

Deputies said the dog, named Hope, was found on Sept. 15 near 400 W. Oak St. in Kissimmee.

"She really is the definition of skin and bones,” said Osceola County Animal Services Director Kim Staton.

At just 28 pounds, Hope carried around her entire body weight, dragging a 15-foot, 24-pound logging chain around her neck.

“She didn't get this thin in a matter of days or weeks, this was over a considerable amount of time," said Staton.

Animal Services says she also has fresh puncture marks on her head and neck, indicating that she may have been attacked by another animal.

“The bottom line is to let an animal get in this condition is not o.k. We need to send the message to the community that as an organization this kind of treatment of animals won't be tolerated," Staton said.

Animal Services is looking for the owners or people responsible for the dog's severe condition.


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