A sampling of police calls in Gulfport from August 20 to 25.
Source: Gulfport Police Department
August 20 & 21: Hard Times on The Hard
Someone storing their boat near the Gulfport Lions Club called Gulfport Police because on either Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, two coolers disappeared from the boat. The next day, another boat owner reported two high-ticket coolers stolen from his or her boat.
August 21: We Have Good News and Bad News About Last Week’s Stolen Car
First, the good news: Remember last week when Gulfport Police Sergeant Mike Vandenberg couldn’t catch the stolen white Dodge Challenger — the driver who police told us “intentionally baited” Sgt. Vandenberg? Well, while Officer Edward Pope finished up a traffic stop along the 2300 block of Premier Drive South, he noticed a white Dodge Challenger in a nearby open garage. He thought it fit the description, so he questioned the resident, who told Pope “he was just storing it for a friend” who, coincidentally, “was actually at that moment on the way to pick up the car.” Right about then, a silver Lincoln drove towards the house. When the driver saw the police, the driver put the car in reverse. Sgt. Vandenberg once again attempted to chase the driver, who once again evaded capture, probably because Gulfport PD can’t pursue unless the suspect has possibly committed a violent felony. Don’t worry, Sergeant: third time’s the charm.
August 22: Manic Episode
Police took a woman on the 5100 block of 13th Avenue South into protective custody because she seemed to be in the midst of a manic episode. Officers transported her to the hospital.
August 22: Maybe He Was Just Trying to Get to Key West Seafood…
Gulfport police stopped a car that had swerved into oncoming traffic at 49th Street and 15th Avenue South. Amazingly, the driver showed no signs of driving under the influence. Police arrested him, but because of COVID-19 restrictions that mean non-violent, small-time offenders don’t get a jail cell, officers ultimately released him to his family. He will have to appear in court at some point.
August 23: Paint Him Guilty
A woman on the 1400 block of Gray Street South hired someone to paint her garage. She must have been so pleased with the work the painter did she neglected to bring her wallet back into her house after she paid the painter. The wallet went missing and soon she started seeing charges on her credit card she didn’t recognize. Police have security footage from one store where the suspect used the woman’s credit card, and the person in that video matches the garage painter. The credit-card-stealing-garage-painter remains at large.
August 24: Just Like a Good Neighbor…
Two teenage girls probably won’t be giving a store on the 5000 block of Gulfport Boulevard South a good Yelp review anytime soon. One girl took money from the store’s cash drawer and fled on foot, while the other remained at the store. Gulfport police used the tracking device in the former girl’s condition-of-her-probation ankle monitor to determine the girl had been in the store, but that was only after her neighbors turned her in to the police. Police arrested her and charged her with theft and violation of felony probation. The other girl? Officers arrested her when they found she had an outstanding warrant in Hillsborough County.
August 25: Weekly Reminder to Secure Valuables
A resident along the 5100 block of 12th Avenue South left a push lawn mower under his or her carport overnight, assuming the fence around the yard would keep it safe. That old adage about assuming things proved itself in this instance: Someone stole the lawnmower.
August 25 Escape by Landscape
Gulfport Officer David Janovich tried to make contact with an illegally parked car on the 5300 block of 12th Avenue South, but the driver drove away. Janovich tried to stop the driver, but the driver sped up and ran a stop sign. Next the driver drove through a yard in either a protest against the use of nonnative turf grass or to get away from the police. The car’s owner gave police the driver’s name, and from there Officer Janovich matched the (suspended) license photo with the person driving the car. Gulfport police now have probable cause to arrest the driver, as does the St. Petersburg Police Department, although that probable cause is for an unrelated issue.