Local Crime Watch: May 16

‘Grandparent’ Phone Scam Targets Local Seniors 

Detectives from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office are encouraging the public to be on alert to recent phone scams occurring in Pinellas County.

Since January 2019, detectives have identified an increase in the “Grandparent Scam,” which specifically targets seniors in the community.  

According to detectives, the victims are contacted by the suspect pretending to be one of their grandchildren. The suspect may inform the victim that their grandchild is injured, and is being transported to the hospital. The suspect may also state that their grandchild has been arrested, and bond money is needed. In both instances, the suspect instructs the victim to hide cash in a magazine, then send the cash through the mail. The suspect then tells the victim to not contact law enforcement or other family members to verify the information.

The victims later discover their grandchild was never injured or arrested. Furthermore, the cash has been picked up and is untraceable.

Detectives say at least nine residents of Pinellas County have been targeted by this scam since January. Authorities advise anyone receiving a call of this nature to verify the status of their grandchild with other family members before providing the cash.

Anyone with information on this scam is asked to call Corporal K. Frazho at the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office at 727-582-6200.

A sampling of police reports from May 2 through May 11 in Gulfport, South Pasadena and St. Pete Beach.

Source: Gulfport Police Department and Pinellas County Crime Viewer

Gulfport

5/2 – Hit and run in the 5600 block of 11th Avenue South. Officers responded regarding a vehicle backing into a mailbox. It was determined that a person who lives across the street backed over the mailbox but failed to report it to the property owner. The driver was issued a criminal citation for leaving the scene of a crash.

5/3 – Domestic incident in the 5000 block of 18th Avenue South. Officers responded in reference to a report that a woman was sitting on the corner crying and appeared to have been beaten up. Officers made contact with the woman who explained that her boyfriend in Largo had battered her. They were still arguing in the car in Gulfport when he kicked her out and left. She was adamant that she did not call police and did not want us involved. She refused to provide any information and cursed at officers and paramedics for trying to help her. An incident report was taken to document the contact.

5/3 – Tampering with a witness in the 5600 block of 11th Avenue South. Police were dispatched to the same location that a hit and run had occurred prior. Investigator revealed that the suspect had threatened the witness to the crash and told him not to appear in court and that he may be harmed if he does. Albert Eades was arrested for tampering with a witness.

5/4 – Burglary to a vehicle in the 2400 block of Premier Drive South. A resident reported that someone got into her unlocked and took approximately $30 in change. 

5/4 – Stolen vehicle in the 5500 block of 21st Street South. A resident reported that his unlocked vehicle was stolen. The resident advised that the vehicle had a spare key in it. The vehicle was located in St Petersburg in the area of 45th Street South and 18th Avenue South. 

5/4 – Trespass after warning in the 5500 block of Shore Boulevard. Management stated a female, who had been trespassed two months prior, came back on the property and refused to leave. She then went into the restaurant and refused to leave when officers told her she is not allowed on the property. Stephanie Pizzini was arrested and transported to the Pinellas County Jail.

5/5 – Crash at the corner of 61st Street South and Gulfport Boulevard South. A vehicle was driving east in the curb lane of Gulfport Boulevard South when it hit the curb. Due to wet roads, the vehicle overcorrected and ended up sliding across Gulfport Boulevard and into the fence that borders Stetson University. The vehicle was removed from the scene, and there were no injuries. The driver was cited for driving too fast for road conditions.                                                                                        

5/6 – Fraud in the 5900 block of Bay Drive South. A resident reported that someone took $10,000 out of her bank account. She saw a second pending transaction for another $10,000 that she also had not authorized.

5/7 – Theft at the Gulfport Library. A resident reported that he was at the library and he stepped outside to smoke. When he returned someone had stolen his backpack and his phone.

5/7 – Theft in the 5300 block of Newton Avenue South. A resident reported that their bench was stolen from the front porch. The resident has video of the incident. 

5/7 – Warrant arrest in the 1300 block 51st Street South. Officers made contact with two people during a robbery investigation. A records check revealed that both people had outstanding warrants for their arrest for grand theft. Jada Wilson and Phillip Scott were arrested for the warrants and transported to the Pinellas County Jail.

5/8 – Stolen vehicle in the 3000 block of 51st Street South. A resident reported that sometime overnight, his 2016 Honda CRV was stolen from in front of his residence.

5/2 to 5/8 — The Marine Unit was in operation for approximately seven hours this week. Marine officers stopped two vessels and made contact with three boaters. Our vessel also responded to the Skyway Bridge to assist with a jumper. Fortunately the person was talked out of jumping.

Battery

5/2, 10:30 a.m., 900 block of 58th Street S

5/3, 2 p.m., 2900 block of 56th Street S

Burglary – residence

5/8, 6:20 a.m., 5100 block of 12th Avenue S

Burglary – vehicle

5/4, 5 p.m., 5500 block of 17th Avenue S

5/7, 11 p.m., 3000 block of 51st Street S

5/8, 10 p.m., 5600 block of 16th Avenue S

Robbery – unarmed

5/6, 3 p.m., 1300 block of 51st Street S

Theft – grand

5/5, 8 a.m., 5900 block of Bay Drive S

Theft – petit

5/6, 3:15 a.m., 5300 block of Newton Avenue S

5/6, 8 a.m., 5500 block of 28th Avenue S

Theft – vehicle

5/3, 8 p.m., 5500 block of 21st Avenue S

Vandalism – criminal mischief

5/10, 9 a.m., 5200 block of 9th Avenue S

 

South Pasadena

Theft – grand

5/9, 5 p.m., 1800 block of Shore Drive

 

St. Pete Beach

Battery

5/4, 9:07 p.m., 

2000 block of Pass-a-Grille Way

Theft – grand

5/9, 12:50 p.m., 6300 block of Gulf Boulevard

Theft – petit

5/11, 4:30 p.m., 5500 block of Gulf Boulevard

Theft – purse snatching

5/5, 4 p.m., 6300 block of Gulf Boulevard

Vandalism – criminal mischief

5/4, 2:55 a.m., 7600 block of Blind Pass Road

5/7, noon, 500 block of 70th Avenue

5/8, 11 p.m., 400 block of Gulf Way

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