Saturday, July 30, 2011

Manatee resident sees A/C unit being stolen, calls 911

MANATEE -- A Manatee resident called 911 on Saturday morning after discovering two men taking a neighbor’s air-conditioning unit, the sheriff’s office reports.

The neighbor, who lives in the 5300 block of Third Street Court West, heard his dog barking at about 11 a.m., a media release said. He walked outside and saw the unit being stolen.

The neighbor got a vehicle tag number as the suspects fled.

By following up on the tag, deputies were able to interview a 34-year-old man who led them to arrest suspect Timothy Willoughby, 28, the release said.

According to the release, Willoughby was in the process of breaking down the A/C unit when deputies arrived; the remains of the unit were recovered and placed into evidence.

Deputies have another suspect in the case, but charges have yet to be filed against him, the release said.

Two Bradenton establishments fined for underage drinking

BRADENTON -- Two Bradenton businesses were charged with selling and serving alcohol to minors following an underage drinking operation Thursday, the Bradenton Police Department reports.

The department visited 15 businesses in the county. The BP gas station at 2925 Manatee Ave. W. and Council’s, 536 12th St. W., were found in violation and issued a notice to appear summons, a media release said

Manatee sheriff’s deputy suspended for 86 hours

MANATEE -- A Manatee County Sheriff’s Office deputy has been suspended for 86 hours without pay after an inmate’s claims that he used derogatory racial language and misused his stun gun were sustained, according to an internal affairs investigation report obtained Friday by the Herald.

The accusations against Deputy Robert Casbarro stemmed from a May 30 incident in which an in- mate alleged Casbarro pointed his electronic weapon toward his back while in a common area of the Manatee County jail, the report stated.

A surveillance video of the incident shows Casbarro and four inmates, and at one point the inmate who filed the charges walks toward a main door with his back facing Casbarro and a seated inmate.

That’s when Casbarro is seen pointing the stun gun at the inmate, causing him to back against a wall, the report said.

Read more

Friday, July 29, 2011

Commission OKs new deputies, higher taxes for Manatee sheriff's office

BRADENTON -- The Manatee County Commission this morning approved giving Sheriff Brad Steube an additional $2 million so he can hire 20 additional deputies.

The commission by a 5-2 vote approved funding that will allow the sheriff's office to hire 10 new road deputies and 10 new corrections deputies. The hirings will be funded by $1.6 million in property taxes -- which will require a millage increase -- and about $400,000 in impact fees.

Voting against the proposal were commissioners Robin DiSabatino and Donna Hayes. Voting for the proposal were commission chairwoman Carol Whitmore and commissioners Larry Bustle, John Chappie, Michael Gallen and Joe McClash.

The commission continues to work on the 2011-2012 budget. A final vote is set for September.

Bradenton man facing multiple counts of child porn

BRADENTON -- A 46-year-old Bradenton man was charged with multiple counts of child pornography after detectives linked him to an iPod nano that contained the images, the Bradenton Police Department reports.

“They had to track the iPod to the guy,” said BPD Capt. Warren Merriman.

An investigation led detectives to John Essaf, who was arrested Thursday at his home in the 3000 block of Castleton Drive.

“He was up front and admitted to the iPod being his,” Merriman said.

The iPod was found about two weeks ago in an apartment complex.

“The person who found it saw images of a pornographic nature on it and thought it should be turned in,” Merriman said.


Toddler found riding tricycle in middle of road in Myakka City

MANATEE - A toddler wearing nothing but a diaper was discovered riding his tricycle southbound in the middle of Wauchula Road in Myakka City at 11:25 a.m. Thursday, according to the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.

An observer stopped his vehicle and told the boy to go home, according to a Manatee County Sheriff’s Office report.

The Good Samaritan followed the youngster as the child made his home to Myakka Boulevard. The observer knocked on the boy’s door and returned the child to the people inside, the report states.

It does not appear that anyone was arrested for the alleged child neglect.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Disabled veteran stabbed 50 times, shot in head in Sarasota; female suspect arrested

 A 28-year-old  Sarasota woman  has been charged with second-degree murder, the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office reported Thursday.

Jennie Lee Osborne is accused of killing Terrence Edwards, 65, at about 3 p.m. Wednesday in the 100 block of Winson Avenue.

An autopsy found the victim died as a result of 50 stab wounds to the torso and a gunshot to the back of the head, the report said.
Edwards, a disabled veteran, met Osborne outside of Cafe de la Bay in Englewood and invited her to his residence, according to a redacted arrest report.

On Wednesday night, deputies responded to a call at Englewood Community Hospital at about 8:30 p.m. where Osborne claimed to have shot and stabbed Edwards after she was sexually assaulted by him, a report said.

No evidence of sexual assault was found after a medical exam.

After being read her rights, Osborne admitted something to the deputies regarding this case, the report said, but details on the admission were blocked out on the report.

"The defendant made statements to four separate people that she did something really terrible and that she would be going to prison for a very long time," the report said.

Osborne is currently in Sarasota  County jail.

Man charged with lewd acts on minor

BRADENTON-- An 18-year-old man was arrested Wednesday on charges of lewd and lascivious battery, the Bradenton Police Department reports.

Anthony Coale allegedly had a 14-year-old girl perform sexual acts on him at a Bradenton church in May, an arrest report said.

Earlier this month Coale went to the department for questioning on this case and told police he knew the victim’s age and that having relations with her would be illegal, the report said.

Coale has been charged with two counts of lewd and lascivious battery and is currently being held in Manatee County jail on a $20,000 bond.

Key Royale Club members react to arrest of ex-bookkeeper on fraud charges

HOLMES BEACH — So where is all that money?
That’s what some Key Royale Club members wanted to know Thursday now that their former bookkeeper, Holly Elaine Connelly, turned herself into authorities Wednesday morning in connection with $387,181.77 in missing club funds.
Connelly, 29, who left the private club on Anna Maria Island in April, has been charged with scheme to defraud and was still in the Manatee Central jail on Thursday in lieu of a $500,000 bond.

Manatee sheriff’s funding request to get hard look

BRADENTON -- In 2007, the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office budget took about 40 percent of property tax pie in Manatee County.

Wracked by a devastated economy, tax revenues have been shrinking ever since. The sheriff now takes 60 percent of that smaller pool, county finance director Jim Seuffert estimates.
Sheriff Brad Steube says he understands the county’s economic woes, but that his department is understaffed and at a “tipping point” in fighting crime.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Second home invasion in Lakewood Ranch gated community may be linked to first

LAKEWOOD RANCH -- For the second time in recent weeks, a home in the same gated neighborhood in Lakewood Ranch has been hit by a home invasion.

"It's the same person, we think. We're going on the description, the proximity, and the M.O. (modus operandi)," Dave Bristow, spokesman for the Manatee County Sheriff's Office, said today.

Tuesday night, two people were robbed at gunpoint in their home in the 8400 block of Misty Morning Court, the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office reported.
That address is just a few blocks from another home on Waters Edge Way that was hit by a home invasion on July 17.
In the Tuesday robbery, an intruder knocked on the victims’ door about 6:30 p.m. and forced his way into the home at gunpoint after being told the person he was asking for didn’t live there, the sheriff's office reported.


Key Royale Club employee charged with embezzling club funds

HOLMES BEACH -- A former employee of the Key Royale Club in Holmes Beach has been arrested and charged with embezzling a reported $485,000 from the club, according to the Holmes Beach Police Department.

Holly Elaine Connelly, 30, was arrested early Wednesday, and was being held at the Manatee County jail on $500,000 bond, on a charge of scheme to defraud more than $50,000.

"After months of exhaustive investigation, Ms. Connelly is accused of embezzling funds from the Key Royale Club during her employment there," a Holmes Beach Police Department news release states.

The release did not say exactly how much Connelly is accused of stealing. But in several letters to club members and club publication, club president Craig Humphreys revealed that the loss was an estimated $485,000.

In March, Key Royale Club’s new treasurer, Tim Friesen, first discovered inappropriate use of deposit accounts, including fraudulent checks written on a forged signature as well as misuse of the club’s debit card, all of which amounted to a total loss estimated to be Humphreys told club members.

In May, Humphreys revealed to club members that a crime had been committed, and the club's bank and the Holmes Beach Police Department were advised of what club officials had uncovered.

Gunmen rob couple in Bradenton, force their way into woman's home

MANATEE -- A robbery early Wednesday that started in the street ended with four gunmen forcing their way into one of the victim's home and stealing more cash, according to the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.

A man and a woman were walking down a road about 12:20 a.m. when they were robbed at gunpoint by four suspects. 

They then forced the woman to lead them to her home in the 5900 block of 12th Street East, where they stole more cash, according to a news release.

The suspects then fled westbound on foot.

There were three other people in the house, but none were injured, according to the sheriff's office.

Sheriff's deputies, including K9 and aviation units, searched the area but did not find the suspects.

The sheriff's office said there were varying descriptions of the suspects, and that at least two were carrying guns.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

MSO July Deputy of the Month

The Manatee County Sheriff's Office has named Deputy Daniel Ensign Deputy of the Month for his actions in a July 3 suicide attempt, a media release said. 

When Ensign arrived on scene, a woman was threatening to kill herself with a medium-sized sword that she held against her body. The woman’s roommate was trying to stop her from harming herself; and both women were wedged between a bed and a dresser, the release said.  

Deputy Ensign was able to get near the women and pry away the sword.

MSO July Employee of the Month

The Manatee County Sheriff's Office has named Jason Smith employee of the month for  July in light of his actions at a May 18 burglary scene. 

Smith processed a burglary crime scene where more than $35,000 worth of property was stolen, including a firearm. He took several photographs of apparent latent prints from a metal box and submitted the prints for lab analysis, a media release said. 

Those prints led law enforcement to a known burglar recently released from prison, the release said. The State Attorney’s Office and Department of Corrections has since charged the suspect, and he is facing up to 30 years, just for the violation of probation.

2 robbed during home invasion

MANATEE -- Two people were robbed at gunpoint during a home invasion Tuesday night, the sheriff’s office reports.

The suspect knocked on the victims’ door at about 6:30 p.m. in the 8400 block of Misty Morning Court and forced his way into the home at gunpoint after being told the person he was asking for didn’t live there, a media release said.

The suspect told the male victim he was not going to hurt him, then took a female who was inside the home into the master bedroom, where he tied her to a bed post and stole her jewelry, the release said.

The suspect then bound the male victim’s hands together and attempted to kidnap him, to no avail. He later fled the scene after he realized the female victim was able to free herself from the bed to call 911, the release said.

The suspect is described as about 6 feet tall, clean shaven and about 20 years old. He was last seen wearing a light-colored hat, light-colored shirt and khaki shorts.

Anyone with information about this incident should call the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office at (941) 747-3011.

Deputies seek robbery suspect in LWR

MANATEE -- Deputies were searching the area near Lakewood Ranch Boulevard and University Parkway on Tuesday night for a robbery suspect, the sheriff’s office reports.

Several patrol vehicles were seen around the intersection at about 6:30 p.m. as a helicopter and canine units searched for the suspect.

No arrest has been made yet, according to a deputy.

No more details were available.

The search for 'a good soul' continues on Anna Maria Island

ANNA MARIA — As she watched a front-loader unsuccessfully search for the remains of her missing friend Sabine Musil-Buehler Tuesday, Suzi Fox of Anna Maria Turtle and Shorebird Monitoring remembered Musil-Buehler as a “fun-loving person with a good soul.”

“She was the most creative and talented person you could ever meet,” Fox said Tuesday as the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office’s dig for Musil-Buehler worked between Cedar and Palmetto avenues without coming up with any additional clues.

“Give her a common chore and she would create a masterpiece,” Fox saidof her long-time fellow turtle advocate.

Parasailer's death still a mystery

BRADENTON BEACH — A propeller hub failure caused the 28-foot commercial boat Almost Heaven to slow down on June 27, causing a 31-year-old parasailer attached to it to have a shorter-than-expected flight.

But did the failure of the hub — which the U.S. Coast Guard has apparently advised the boat’s owner after an inspection — contribute in any way to the death of South Carolina tourist David Sieradzki who was the parasailer on that fateful flight?

That and other questions remain to be answered in the tragic death of Sieradzki, which occurred about a mile and a half off Longboat Key after he went parasailing with his family and a crew from the Fun N Sun parasailing company out of Bradenton Beach.

Sheriff: Woman beaten, robbed by ex-boyfriend in Bradenton

MANATEE -- A 20-year-old woman early was beaten, kicked and robbed by an ex-boyfriend while she was walking home early Monday, according to the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.

The woman was walking home from a friend's house in the 500 block of 60th Avenue West about 1:35 a.m. when she heard someone call her name. She turned, saw that it was her former boyfriend and started to run away, according to a news release.

The man caught up with her and started pulling her hair. He snatched a cell phone out of her hand and started hitting her about the head with his fist. He then pushed her to the ground and started kicking her, according to the sheriff's office.

The victim started screaming for help, and the suspect fled on foot with the cell phone.

The victim had some bruising on her left forearm and was treated by paramedics on the scene.

A K-9 unit tracked the suspect, but he was not located.

Detectives seek clues to Bradenton slaying

BRADENTON -- Anyone who was at the La Habla bar, 5649 15th St. E., late Friday or early Saturday might be able to help the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office solve a crime.

Detectives now know that an incident that ended with the shooting death of 28-year-old Elvis Ruiz at 2:56 a.m. Saturday began with a disturbance at the Bradenton bar, sheriff’s spokesman Randy Warren said Monday.

“We can use some help,” Warren said. “We believe it started at the bar and moved. We know there was gunfire later and two people got shot, but we don’t know exactly how it all started. Obviously, there were witnesses at La Habla.”

Bradenton couple arrested on animal cruelty charges

MANATEE -- A Bradenton couple was arrested Monday and each charged with eight counts of cruelty to animals after police officers discovered they were keeping animals in deplorable conditions in three separate houses.

Marcos and Brenda Steiner, who are 46 and 56 respectively, are in the Manatee Central Jail in lieu of $8,000 bond each.

The Steiners had four cats locked inside the bathroom of one house, whose address was not listed in a Bradenton Police Department description of the incident.

3 gunmen pull off robbery in Bradenton

MANATEE — Three gunmen early Tuesday robbed three people as they were leaving a house in Bradenton, according to the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.

The victims — two men and a woman — were leaving a house in the 900 block of 35th Avenue Drive East about 3:55 a.m., when they were approached by three suspects who at gunpoint ordered them to the ground, according to a news release.

The suspects took money, jewelry and cell phones, before fleeing on foot in an unknown direction.

The suspects were wearing black and camouflage clothing, and they had their faces covered. Two were described as standing 6 feet, 2 inches tall and weighing 190 pounds. The third suspect was described as standing 5 feet, 7 inches tall and weighing 170 pounds, according to the sheriff's office.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

1 dead, another injured in Bradenton shooting

MANATEE -- One person is dead and another wounded after a pair of gang-related shootings in the same block Saturday morning, according to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.

Elvis Ruiz, 27, was found injured with a gunshot wound inside a residence in the 900 block of 33rd Avenue East at around 3 a.m., a release states. He was airlifted to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg and pronounced dead at about 8:30 a.m., said Randy Warren, a public information officer with the sheriff’s office.

The other victim, a 26-year-old man, was found in front of another residence, transported to Manatee Memorial Hospital with minor injuries and later released.

Detectives believe the shootings are gang-related, the release said.

“We are dealing with rival gangs here,” Warren said.

He said investigators believe others may have been involved.

The cul-de-sac where the shootings occurred is made up of duplexes with toys scattered across front yards.

One neighbor said she still feels safe in the area, and others who live on the block said they didn’t hear any shots fired during that time.

“We have two people who were shot and not much in terms of witnesses,” Warren said. “What we are trying to do is get more information.”

Anyone with information can call the sheriff’s office at (941) 747-3011 or CrimeStoppers at (866) 634-8477.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Manatee ice cream vendor robbed

MANATEE -- An ice cream cart vendor was robbed Saturday afternoon at gunpoint, the sheriff’s office reports.

The 53-year-old was pushing his cart westbound on 60th Avenue East at about 4 p.m. when he was approached by two suspects, a media release said. One of the suspects held a gun to the victim as they took $150 and a cellphone from his pockets.

A 26-year-old man who was driving in the area attempted to stop the suspects, but they pointed a gun at him as well, the release said. The suspects then fled southbound on Fifth Street West.

There were no injuries and no shots fired.

Both suspects are described as 5 feet 10 inches tall to 6 feet with a thin build and short hair. One of them was last seen wearing black-and-white shorts with a black shirt, and the other was seen wearing jeans and a black shirt.

Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff’s office at (941) 747-3011.

Manatee man robbed of cell phones and money

MANATEE — A 46-year-old man was robbed outside his carport Friday night, the sheriff’s office reports.
The victim was outside his residence at about 11 p.m. in the 500 block of 37th Avenue Drive East when he was rushed by two armed men wearing all black clothing, gloves and ski masks.

The suspects forced the victim inside the residence, ordered the rest of his family to get on the floor and then took three cell phones and cash from them, a media release said. They then fled in a dark-colored sedan, possibly a Lincoln.

No shots were fired, and nobody was injured during the robbery. 

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call the sheriff’s office at (941) 747-3011 or Crime Stoppers at (866) 634-8477.

Manatee man dead after shooting

MANATEE -- One man is dead and another injured after a pair of shootings early Saturday morning in the 900 block of 33rd Avenue East, the sheriff's office reports.

Elvis Ruiz, 27, was inside a residence when he was shot at around 3 a.m., a release states. He later died at Bayfront Medical Center.

Another male victim, 26, was out in front of another residence when he suffered non-life-threatening gunshot wounds, the release stated.

He was transported to Manatee Memorial Hospital.

Detectives believe the shooting is gang-related. Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office at 747-3011 or Crime Stoppers at 866-634-TIPS.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Investigators dig under screened off footbridge for clues in island woman's disappearance

ANNA MARIA -- A black screen was erected today at a Willow Avenue footbridge where investigators are searching for clues in the disappearance of Sabine Musil-Buehler, who went missing in November 2008.

Crime scene tape blocks pedestrians from crossing the bridge, while men with shovels dig underneath.
Investigators decided to dig there on a hunch, said Sheriff Brad Steube.

But what they found was just debris from the construction of the footbridge.

An Anna Maria Island resident found an object linked to the missing Anna Maria Island woman July 9 while clearing property to improve his view of the Gulf of Mexico.

Bradenton hammer attack sends 4 to hospital

MANATEE — When Michael J. Roberts, 35, was booked into the Manatee County jail at 3:50 p.m. Friday the gauze over his right eyebrow was proof he had been through something rather intense.

A Manatee County Sheriff’s Office report said a hammer fight at a pink duplex in the 1000 block of 30th Avenue East left four people with non-life threatening head injuries, including Roberts.

The incident began at 9:30 a.m. Friday when two males, including Roberts and a man only known as “Stan,” drove to the pink duplex to sell a PlayStation, said sheriff’s spokesman Randy Warren.


Pedestrian finds dead body in Palmetto

PALMETTO -- Investigators do not suspect foul play to be a factor in the death of a 55-year-old Palmetto man, the Palmetto Police Department reports.

Kenneth Payton’s body was discovered by the railroad tracks between 12th and 17th streets west at about 6 p.m. Friday after a pedestrian reported finding him on the ground, a media release said. Evidence at the scene indicated that he had not been there long before he was found.

 Payton did not appear to be the victim of foul play, according to Lt. Scott Tyler, and investigators are working with the Medical Examiner’s Office to determine the cause of death.

6 shots fired into a vehicle in Manatee

:MANATEE -- No injuries were reported following a shooting Friday morning in Manatee, the sheriff’s office reports.

 The 19-year-old victim was in her vehicle with three friends when an unknown type of gold-colored sedan began driving behind her at about 4:30 a.m. in the 1100 block of 44th Avenue East, a media release said.

 Six shots were fired at the back of the victim’s vehicle, said Sgt. Isaac Redmond. The victims didn’t get a clear enough view of the suspect to give a description to deputies.

“All they were able to tell us was it was a four-door sedan,” he said.

 The incident wasn’t reported until Friday night after the 19-year-old victim’s parents found out about the incident, Redmond said.

Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff’s office at (941) 747-3011 or Crime Stoppers at (866) 634-TIPS.

2 robbed at Manatee gas station

MANATEE -- Two people were robbed at gunpoint at a Sunoco gas station Thursday night, the sheriff’s office reports.

The victims were sitting in their vehicle in the 5900 block of 15th Street East at about 6 p.m. when two armed men entered the vehicle through the back doors, a media release said.

A male victim was hit on the head with a bat by one of the suspects after he snatched a gun that was pointed to his head out of the hand of another suspect, the sheriff’s office reports.

The suspects then fled the scene on foot without retrieving any money from the victims, the release said.
One of the suspects is described as 6 foot 2, skinny and was last seen wearing a white shirt and pants with a white ball cap, the release stated. The other suspect is said to be about 5 feet 5, 140 pounds and was last seen wearing a long-sleeved black shirt and black shorts.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office at (941) 747-3011.

2 robbed at Manatee gas station

MANATEE -- Two people were robbed at gunpoint at a Sunoco gas station Thursday night, the sheriff’s office reports.

The victims were sitting in their vehicle in the 5900 block of 15th Street East at about 6 p.m. when two armed men entered the vehicle through the back doors, a media release said.

A male victim was hit on the head with a bat by one of the suspects after he snatched a gun that was pointed to his head out of the hand of another suspect, the sheriff’s office reports.
The suspects then fled the scene on foot without retrieving any money from the victims, the release said.
One of the suspects is described as 6 foot 2, skinny and was last seen wearing a white shirt and pants with a white ball cap, the release stated. The other suspect is said to be about 5 feet 5, 140 pounds and was last seen wearing a long-sleeved black shirt and black shorts.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office at (941) 747-3011.

Deputy kicked in head

MANATEE -- A  deputy dispatched to a restaurant in the 8200 block of Cooper Creek Boulevard late Thursday night was kicked in the head twice  while trying to place a person in his  police car. During the struggle, the suspect also kicked out the rear window of the car,  the Manatee County Sheriff's Office reports.

The person was being taken into custody after expressing suicidal thoughts, according to a sheriff's report.

Damage to the car was estimated at $1,500. The deputy was uninjured in the incident, which occurred about 11 p.m., the report said.

The suspect was taken into custody under the Baker Act.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Suspect in credit card fraud wanted

BRADENTON — The Bradenton Police Department is asking for the public’s help in identifying a man who used a victim’s credit card to purchase alcoholic beverages on July 3.

Anyone having information with regard to this case is asked to call (941) 932-9312, or to remain anonymous and be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000, call Crime Stoppers (toll free) at 1-866-634-8477 (TIPS) or send an anonymous E-Tip thru the web at 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Palmetto teen shot in leg at Bradenton motel

An 18-year-old man was shot in the leg late Monday at a Bradenton motel, police reported today.

The teen said he was going to a party at the Days Inn at 3506 1st St. He was in the pool area with a group of people around 11:30 p.m. when a man pulled out a handgun and fired two shots in the direction of the group, according to a police report.

The teen ran back to the vehicle he came in, but did not realize he had been shot until he got to the car, the report said. He was shot in the right calf on the outside of his leg. He was taken to his home in Palmetto and then taken to Manatee Memorial Hospital by his parents. The injury is not life-threatening, police said.

The suspect is being sought on charges of aggravated battery.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Home invasion suspect sought in Lakewood Ranch

Lakewood Ranch -- A man rang the doorbell at a home in Waters Edge Way Sunday evening and, when the resident answered, forced his way in and held the victim against his will, deputies reported Monday.

 The suspect then ransacked the residence looking for personal items to take, according to a report. The suspect loaded the items into the resident’s vehicle and ordered the victim into the vehicle. The suspect eventually released the victim on the side of the road at Lorraine Road and University Parkway, deputies said.

The victim was treated at the scene for minor injuries. The vehicle was later recovered at Market Street and University, but it had been set on fire. The suspect is being sought on charges of home invasion, false imprisonment, grand theft auto and arson.

Anyone with information about a crime is asked to call the Manatee County Sheriff's Office at 941-747-3011 or Crime Stoppers at 866-634-TIPS (8477).

Friday, July 15, 2011

Convicted felon charged with robbing Bradenton business

MANATEE -- A 19-old-man has been charged with robbing a Manatee business at gunpoint on Wednesday, according to the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies Thursday arrested Tarvis Lawrence after he was identified as the suspect in the robbery of the Botanica Las Tres Croces, 6320 15th St. E. During the hold-up, the suspect pointed a gun at an employee, threatened to kill her and demanded money, according to the sheriff's office.

Lawrence was located at his home in the 5900 block of 11th Street East, where he attempted to flee, but deputies were able to quickly take him into custody. A loaded .22-caliber pistol he was carrying was identified as the gun used in the robbery, according to the sheriff's office.

No new clues found in disappearance of Anna Maria businesswoman

ANNA MARIA -- Sheriff's officials have completed for the day a search of a wooded area along the beach on Anna Maria Island for clues to the disappearance and presumed death of island businesswoman Sabine Musil-Buehler.
Officials did not find any additional evidence in the case.
Ten students from the Manatee County Sheriff's Office corrections academy walked slowly side by side, foot by foot on a 300-yard-long wooded area at the west end of Willow Avenue looking for anything that might provide a break in the case. Musil-Buehler was last seen alive on Nov. 4, 2008, and sheriff's officials have said they believe she is dead.

Woman bonds out of jail after ex-husband's slaying in NW Bradenton

MANATEE -- A Manatee woman is facing murder charges after a shooting left her ex-husband dead in Northwest Bradenton, according to the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.

Robin Crane, 50, has been charged with murder. She was released from the Manatee County jail after posting $250,000 bond.

Before he was killed, Ernie R. Crane had called 911 to report a domestic incident at the house he shared with his ex-wife, Robin Crane, in the 700 block of 86th Street Court NW, according to sheriff's spokesman Dave Bristow.

Read more.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Items linked to missing woman found on Anna Maria

ANNA MARIA -- While clearing some land in front of his family’s beach front property Saturday on Willow Avenue, Ed Moss unknowingly came across some clues in Sabine Musil-Buehler’s disappearance.

He was “clearing the land so they could get a better view of the beautiful beaches here and in doing so they located some items that were directly linked to Sabine,” sheriff Brad Steube said Wednesday morning as investigators combed through the area where the items were found.

Musil-Buehler’s disappearance became the talk of the island in November 2008. Detectives have long believed she is dead.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Gunman robs Manatee business

MANATEE - A gunman robbed a Manatee business Wednesday afternoon, according to the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.

About 5 p.m., the suspect walked into the business at 6320 15th St. E., Unit A4, pointed a handgun at a clerk and said, "Give me all your money or I'll kill you," a news release states.

The clerk emptied the cash register into a black bag that he was holding, and the suspect left the store.

Anyone with information about the robbery can call Crime Stoppers at (866) 634-TIPS.

Man robs Walgreens store in Bradenton of drugs

MANATEE -- The pharmacy at a Walgreens store in Bradenton was robbed Wednesday morning, according to the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.

The suspect approached a pharmacist at the store at 4320 26th St. W. about 11:15 a.m. and demanded specific prescription medications. He took several drugs and was last seen jogging northeast from the store, according to a news release.

The pharmacist activated the robbery alarm, and deputies flooded the area but didn't find the suspect, according to the report.

The suspect was described as being about 30 years old, with a "scruffy" appearance. He was wearing a maroon shirt with a white logo on the left chest, black or blue shorts, tan shoes, beige ball cap and sunglasses.

No one was hurt in the robbery.

Deputies search Anna Maria Island for clues to businesswoman's '08 disappearance

MANATEE -- Sheriff's deputies for now have completed a search of a wooded area of Anna Maria Island, after items belonging to a woman missing since November 2008 were found there, according to the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.
A resident on Saturday found the items belonging to Sabine Musil-Buehler in a wooded area off Willow Avenue in Anna Maria, near the beach.
“We found some items,” said Ed Moss, who is staying in a family home in the area.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Manatee's featured fugitives for July 10

Click here to see a list of Manatee County's most wanted.

Missing Sarasota woman found OK

SARASOTA - A missing 83-year-old woman has been located, according to the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office.

Carlota Gonzalez was found in good condition in the backyard of a residence in Village Walk, about a mile and half north of Gonzalez's home in Isles of Palmer Ranch. The resident found Gonzalez and called the sheriff's office, according to a news release.

Officials were concerned about Gonzalez because she has cognitive impairments and medical conditions that require treatment, according to the sheriff's office.

She wandered away from her home on Sunday evening, and was reported missing on Monday morning.

Customer helps save Bradenton shooting victim

MANATEE -- Owner Bill Chong and his staff at Target Auto Broker in the 6400 block of 15th Street East were working late Sunday, negotiating a deal with a customer who wanted buy a used Jeep Cherokee.

That’s precisely when an employee of Chong’s burst through the front door shouting, “I just got shot!”

Needless to say, in the panic that ensued, the deal never got made on the Jeep.

Casey Anthony detectives to speak to the media

The Orlando Sentinel and other media are reporting that three Orange County Sheriff's Office detectives who worked the murder case against Casey Anthony will speak at a news conference this afternoon at 1 p.m.

Here is the Sentinel's story:
The lead detectives who investigated Caylee Marie Anthony's disappearance and built the murder case against her mother Casey Anthony will speak publicly today.

The Orange County Sheriff's Office is organizing a 1:30 p.m. press conference for the media to question Sgt. John Allen, Cpl. Yuri Melich and Cpl. Eric Edwards.

The three detectives talked to Anthony at various times in the investigation.

Melich and Allen questioned her extensively in July 2008, when Anthony led them to Universal Studios, where she claimed she worked.

During Anthony's trial, jurors heard a recording of their conversation at a Universal office. In it, the detectives pressed Anthony for information on Caylee, confronted her about her lies, and even asked if Caylee accidentally died.

At the time, Anthony stuck with her story — a scenario defense attorney Jose Baez admitted at trial was a lie — which was that Caylee was kidnapped by a babysitter named Zenaida.

Melich repeatedly testified during Anthony's trial.

Also scheduled to be on-hand at today's press-conference is crime scene investigator Gerardo Bloise and Deputy Jason Forgey.

Bloise inspected Anthony's Pontiac Sunfire, and Forgey's K-9, a trained cadaver dog, made a hit on the car and a spot in the Anthony's backyard.

Each of the Sheriff's Office employees testified at Anthony's several-week trial.

A jury ultimately found Anthony not guilty of murder and other charges related to the toddler's death, but guilty of lying to law-enforcement officers. She is expected to be released from the Orange County jail on Sunday.
 Check back at for additional details.

Prosecutors back Buchanan's 'pill mill' legislation

The National District Attorney Association and the National Criminal Justice Association today endorsed the bipartisan “Pill Mill Crackdown Act,” legislation co-sponsored by U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota.

Here is a news release from Buchanan's office:
The National District Attorney Association and the National Criminal Justice Association today endorsed the bipartisan “Pill Mill Crackdown Act,” saying the bill provides vital backup for law enforcement in the fight against prescription drug abuse nationwide. The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., and Rep. Ed Markey, D-MA, seeks to crack down on phony pain management clinics – pill mills – that illegally distribute deadly narcotics across the country.

“The Buchanan-Markey bill provides the back-up that state and local law enforcement needs in the ongoing battle against the prescription drug abuse epidemic,” said Kristen Mahoney, President of the National Criminal Justice Association. “That epidemic is responsible for the deaths of 20,000 Americans each year and puts countless more on the path to long-term drug abuse. By supporting state programs that prevent and detect illicit drug activity, this common sense legislation will help save the lives of our children, neighbors, and friends across the country.”

The "Pill Mill Crackdown Act" is supported by more than 50 members of Congress from both parties. It includes provisions to: toughen prison terms and fines for pill mill operators; support state-based prescription drug monitoring programs; use the money from seized illicit operations for drug treatment; and strengthen prescription standards for certain addictive pain drugs.

“These so-called ‘pain management’ clinics are nothing more than drug dealers posing as doctors and health providers,” said Buchanan, noting that prescription drug overdoses claim seven lives a day in Florida. “They need to be dealt with swiftly and firmly – and those who are making money off the death and suffering of their victims should be sent to prison.”

“Doctors earn their medical licenses to prescribe drugs, not deal them,” said Rep. Edward J. Markey, a senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee. “Yet ‘pill mills’ are spurring an epidemic of prescription drug abuse in communities, doctor’s offices, and homes across the country. The ‘Pill Mill Crackdown Act’ will support law enforcement officials who are on the front lines of this battling this scourge detect and stop illegal drug activities.”
 For more about the proposed legislation, H.R. 1065m including its current status, go here.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Sarasota sheriff looking for missing woman, 83

Carlota Gonzalez

Man shot in Bradenton after telling 2 suspects he didn't have $2

MANATEE-- man was in stable condition today at Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg after being shot by two suspects after he couldn’t come up with the $2 they demanded from him, according to officials with the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.

The victim was standing in front of the Advanced Auto Parts store at 6410 15th St. E. at 9:32 p.m. Sunday when two males dressed all in black approached.

They asked him for $2 and when he said he didn’t have any money, one of the suspects pulled a gun and shot him in the left upper chest, according to a sheriff’s office report.

The suspects fled on foot.
No arrests had been made in the case by Monday afternoon, sheriff office officials said.

Anyone with information about the shooting can call the sheriff’s office at (941) 747-3011 or Crime Stoppers at (866) 634-TIPS.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Manatee woman finds hope in recovery from prescription pill abuse