OMG PD: Resort Embezzlement, Jars of Pot, Tax Fraud Evidence in a 6-Year-Old's Backpack
We compile the odd, unusual ‘oh my gosh’ police items from throughout the Tampa Bay region.
Two former employees of TradeWinds Resort are accused of embezzling more than $780,000 from the St. Pete Beach hotel, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office said Wednesday.
Detectives say the resort's former head of the information technology department and its ex-chief financial officer created shell corporations licensed with the state and embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from the resort through these made-up companies starting in 2007.
Harold James, 46, and Sam Baage, 58, used the corporations to bill TradeWinds Resort for services it never received and embezzled a total of $782,018, which they used to lead "very comfortable lifestyles," the sheriff's office said.
Sarasota Police arrested a 27-year-old man on charges of armed robbery after a cab driver was robbed while driving in the pre-dawn hours Monday.
This is the fourth time that Sarasota Police Officers have arrested James B. Brown on robbery charges, according to a police report. Brown was convicted of the three previous robberies, all involving cab drivers, and was sentenced to five years in prison.
A traffic stop ended with the arrest of an East Lake man on a felony drug charge last weekend after deputies said they found mason jars labeled with the names of various types of marijuana in his backpack.
The deputy who pulled over Matthew Denison Cunha, 23, at U.S. 19 and Highlands Boulevard in Palm Harbor said he could smell the "distinct odor of marijuana" coming from his 2001 Jeep. Cunha allegedly admitted to having marijuana and provided a small mason jar with a green leafy substance and said he had more marijuana in a backpack, according to the affidavit.
The deputy looked in the backpack and found a scale, a box of plastic baggies and four more mason jars of marijuana that were labeled Real Lemon, Flo, Cindy 99 and Strawberry Cough, according to the affidavit.
When a 6-year-old girl at Symmes Elementary School in Riverview was asked to take her homework out of her backpack, she reportedly removed a bag that contained 52 debit cards.
According to TBO.com, the cards are the kind sometimes used by those who use stolen identities to file tax returns and obtain fraudulent tax refunds.
Police were investigating the deaths of a man and woman whose bodies were found by a teenage girl in a New Port Richey home in an apparent murder-suicide.
The girl, who was the daughter of the woman found in the house, came home Monday, entered the house and found the man's body hanging inside. At that point, she called the authorities. She did not see her mother's body.
It looks like the woman died "as a result of homicidal violence characterized as blunt force trauma," said New Port Richey Police Chief James Steffens.