The Blotter

Bizarre crimes from the Tampa police reports

HIT & RUN: A Pinellas County sheriff using the department's license-plate scanning system located a blue 2001 Chevy Impala that had been reported stolen in Orlando sitting in the parking lot of a convenience store in Seminole. The sheriff attempted to block the vehicle in, but the suspect rammed the patrol car and fled, with the ensuing chase tracking east, across the Howard Frankland Bridge and into Tampa. Once in Tampa, the Pinellas officers lost track of the Chevy in the area of Kennedy Boulevard and I-275, and called in Tampa Air Service (the helicopter cops) to supplement the Pinellas flyboys searching for the suspect. Neither copter was able to find the Chevy, but the cops soon got a break. Per the report: "Minutes later [an officer] from the Tampa Police Department came upon a traffic crash at Gomez and Swann involving three vehicles, and ascertained that the Chevy Impala was the stolen vehicle that the Pinellas County SO was following." The chase wasn't over yet, as the driver fled on foot and seemed to get away again. The police brought in K9 units and searched the neighborhood with no luck. Two and a half hours later, a neighborhood resident approached officers and told them a man was hiding in his yard. The man was arrested without further incident.

SPEAKING OF RUNNING: A police officer observed a 1988 blue Oldsmobile at the corner of 15th Street and Fowler Avenue in Tampa. After running the tag, the officer learned the car was registered to a habitual traffic offender. The officer turned on his emergency lights and attempted a traffic stop, at which point the driver of the Olds turned onto 14th Street, came to a stop and bolted from the car. As the officer slammed on the gas "in an attempt to gain distance on the suspect," the suspect thought better of making his bipedal getaway and booked it back to his car. When attempting to drive away, the suspect crashed into the pursuing officer's cruiser. The man then jumped out of his car again, attempting a second escape on foot. This time, the officer was able to make the arrest.

SPEAKING OF CRASHING INTO COP CARS: If you can't manage to avoid smashing into stopped police cars, consider that a good indication it's time to hang up the license. That means you, the 29-year-old man who failed to notice the marked police cruiser sitting at a red light at the corner of Dale Mabry and Interbay Boulevard in Tampa. The suspect pushed the cruiser "approximately 6 feet," causing about $100 worth of damage.

From the files of the T.P.D.

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