Local Crime Watch: Dec 19

Mother Charged with Neglect After Leaving Three Children Unattended in a Parking Lot 

According to a press release from the Gulfport Police Department, during routine patrol on Saturday, December 14, Officer Christopher Priest noticed a mini-bus parked in the Gulfport municipal beach parking lot at 4:42 a.m. After checking the vehicle, he found three children inside, ages 3, 6, and 9 years old.

The children told the officer that their mother had left them there at approximately 9 p.m. the night before and went out on a boat.

Gulfport marine patrol was launched to canvass the dozens of boats anchored just offshore, and officers located the mother, Andrea L. Kerrins, 33, onboard a vessel owned by a Yuri Radzibaba, 46. They learned she had been smoking marijuana and that she intended to spend the night on the boat.

According to the release, the children had no access to a phone to call their mother or to call for help. Inside the mini-bus, officers found a bin of mostly perishable food that had been left unrefrigerated. There was a five-gallon bucket near the front door that was designated as a makeshift toilet and a propane tank inside the passenger area. The children had no clothing other than what they were wearing.

Kerrins was charged with three counts of felony child neglect. The children were taken, for the time being, by Florida Department of Children and Families.

The name on the bus, Meg’s Playhouse and Preschool, appears to be a defunct organization with which Kerrins was not affiliated. Kerrins is a transient whose last known address was in Lafayette, TN.

Photos of the mini-bus and interiors are courtesy of the Gulfport Police Department. 

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Man Dies After Serious Injury Crash

According to St. Petersburg police Department, a man who sustained serious injuries in a single vehicle crash in the 5900 block of Central Avenue on Monday, December 16, has died.

Jonathon M. Benner was driving a 2006 Dodge pickup truck at a high rate of speed while weaving through westbound traffic on Central Avenue Monday. He clipped the front end of another vehicle and shortly afterwards, his truck left the roadway and hit a Duke Energy pole on the north side of the street.

Benner was transported to Bayfront Health, where he died from his injuries the following day.

The investigation into the crash is ongoing.

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Arrest Made in Armed Robbery of Dunkin’ Donuts

Following an investigation by the criminal investigative section of the Gulfport Police Department, Eric Jason Banks was arrested in Sarasota County by members of the Sarasota Sheriff’s Office.

On August 13, 2019, officers responded to a robbery at the Dunkin’ Donuts located at 5602 Gulfport Blvd. According to police, the suspect had pulled out folding knife approximately eight inches long and demanded money from the cash register. The suspect concealed his identity by wearing a black ball cap, sunglasses, and a torn piece of clothing across his nose, mouth, chin and neck.

An alert employee discreetly used a cell phone to take photos of the suspect, including unique tattoos on his arms, as well as his clothing.

K9 deputies from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office tracked to a nearby field and located clothing which had apparently been dropped there by the suspect. The Pinellas County Forensic Laboratory conducted analysis of DNA on this clothing, and it was identified as that of Eric Jason Banks. Detectives compared the cell-phone photos to known booking photos of Banks and confirmed that the tattoos were a match.

With this evidence, detectives consulted with the Pinellas/Pasco State Attorney’s Office to secure an arrest warrant for Banks on a charge or armed robbery with a deadly weapon. Upon learning that Banks had moved to and was employed in Sarasota County, the warrant information was relayed to Sarasota Sheriff’s Office, and he was arrested on December 12. He is being held on $150,000 bond pending extradition to Pinellas County.

A sampling of police reports from December 5 through December 13 in Gulfport, South Pasadena and St. Pete Beach.

Sources: Gulfport Police Department and Pinellas County Crime Viewer

Gulfport

12/5 – Lewd and lascivious conduct in the 5400 block of Shore Boulevard. Officers were dispatched to a male exposing himself in front of the restaurants. Officers caught Max Renier in the act of urinating in public. He also had an open container of alcohol in his possession. Renier was arrested.

12/6 – Burglary to a vehicle in the 900 block of 58th Street South. A lawn crew parked their vehicle on the Pinellas Trail Spur and locked it up while mowing. Someone broke their vehicle window and took a cell phone.

12/6 – Assist outside agency with an arrest for drug possession in the 5100 block of Gulfport Boulevard South. Local officers received information that the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office had active probable cause for John Raver for trafficking in methamphetamine. Officers made contact with Raver and arrested him. Raver was found to be in possession of several different types of drugs including methamphetamine. He was transported to the Pinellas County Jail.

12/7 – Driving under the influence (DUI) at the corner of Luana Lane South and Gulfport Boulevard South. Jeffrey Hanson was stopped for a traffic violation. He appeared to be intoxicated. After a DUI investigation was conducted, he was arrested. He refused breath testing and was also charged for driving with a suspended license. 

12/7 – Battery in the 5500 block of 21st Avenue South. When officers arrived, they discovered a female that had a head injury. The investigation revealed that a dispute occurred between the victim and Brittany Ramos, who were both intoxicated. Ramos was arrested for battery. 

12/8 – Assist another agency in the 6000 block of Shore Boulevard. A person fell off the seawall and into the water behind his condominium. He was out of the water when officers arrived but required medical attention. He was transported by ambulance to the hospital. 

12/9 – Burglary to a vehicle in the 2600 block of Upton Street South. A resident reported that sometime in the last three days, someone entered her car and stole her son’s backpack that contained his textbooks and a hoodie.  

12/9 – Warrant arrest in the 5100 block of Newton Avenue South. Officer Janovich located Jay Sloben and arrested him on a warrant out of Hillsborough County for felony interception of wire, oral or electronic communications.

12/10 – Burglary to a residence in the 5400 block of 10th Avenue South. Someone broke out the back window of the residence while the victim was out of town for the weekend. Jewelry, a television and food were taken from the home.

12/11 – Burglary to a vehicle in the 5100 block of Newton Avenue South. A work crew at the residence was packing up for the day and noticed that three cell phones were taken from the inside of an unlocked vehicle.

Battery

12/8, 6 p.m., 5400 block of Shore Boulevard

12/11, 4:21 a.m., 5900 block of 15th Avenue S

12/12, 2:50 p.m., 5700 block of 12th Avenue S

Battery – sexual

12/9, 6 a.m., 2500 block of 51st Way S

Burglary – residence

12/9, 7 p.m., 5000 block of 10th Avenue S

Burglary – structure

12/11, 1:13 p.m., 5100 block of 17th Avenue S

Burglary – vehicle

12/8, 8 p.m., 2600 block of Upton Street S

12/10, noon, 5100 block of Newton Avenue S

12/13, noon, 26th Avenue S and Miriam Street S

Theft – petit

12/9, midnight, 5500 block of 14th Avenue S

12/9, 8 a.m., 6000 block of Shore Boulevard S

South Pasadena

Theft – petit

12/11, 7:30 p.m., 1400 block of Pasadena Avenue S

Shoplifting

12/12, 12:56 p.m., 6800 block of Gulfport Boulevard S

12/13, 12:52 p.m., 6800 block of Gulfport Boulevard S

Vandalism/criminal mischief

12/10, 2 p.m., 1700 block of Harbor Place S

St. Pete Beach

Battery

12/13, 11:12 p.m., 5200 block of Gulf Boulevard

12/13, unknown time, 5500 block of Gulf Boulevard

Theft – petit

12/10, midnight, 5600 block of Gulf Boulevard

Trespassing

12/8, 2:33 a.m., 6200 block of Gulf Boulevard

12/9, 1:36 p.m., 6800 block of Gulf Boulevard

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