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Man tries to rob two banks in Pinellas and fails

Man tries to rob two banks in Pinellas and fails

Largo, Florida -- Deputies are looking for the man who tried to rob two SunTrust banks in Pinellas County Friday.

The suspect gave a teller a demand note at the SunTrust at 3705 East Bay Drive, but the teller didn't have any cash. He demanded his note back and left, the sheriff's office said.

Earlier in the day, a man fitting his description and wearing the same clothing entered the SunTrust at 3601 34th Street in St. Petersburg. He was approached by an employee, turned and left the bank.

Man gets 15 years for fatal beating

Man gets 15 years for fatal beating

LARGO, Fla. (AP) -- A man who had been staying at a Tarpon Springs homeless camp has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for his part in the beating death of another man.

A Pinellas County judge sentenced 56-year-old John E. Windh on Thursday after a jury convicted him of manslaughter. Prosecutors had been pushing for second-degree murder.

Prosecutors say Windh helped fatally beat 47-year-old Michael J. Picciola in March 2007. He then conspired to bury Picciola's body to cover up the crime.

Detectives need your help identifying art theives

Art thieves caught on surveillance camera stealing paintings from the Wine Cellar Restaurant on Gulf Blvd. Video courtesy of Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

Detectives from the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, Criminal Investigations Division are seeking the public's help to identify two suspects who stole paintings worth $900 from the Wine Cellar Restaurant on Gulf Boulevard in Redington Beach last month.

According to detectives, the restaurant's security cameras captured video of the male and female suspects removing the artwork before leaving the business on Monday, December 27, 2010 at 6:06 p.m.  Detectives believe someone knows the pair and will be able to recognize them from the surveillance photos.   

Soldier deemed unfit for trial in attack

Soldier deemed unfit for trial in attack

St. Petersburg, FL (AP) -- A soldier who was home on leave from Iraq when he stabbed a neighbor half a dozen times in the head and neck is mentally unfit to stand trial.


The state attorney's office in St. Petersburg agreed that 25-year-old Hector Luis Ortiz Jr. is not guilty because of insanity.


The St. Petersburg Times reported Wednesday that prosecutors and the defense attorney are still at odds about whether Ortiz should be locked up in a secure facility to receive mental health treatment, or whether he could be treated in a community setting.

Man shot at St. Pete bar just got out of prison

Man shot at St. Pete bar just got out of prison

St. Petersburg, FL (AP) -- Police say a man shot outside a St. Petersburg bar got out of prison two days earlier.


Investigators are still looking for the person who shot 42-year-old Eric Maurice Whitfield outside a Central Avenue bar early Saturday. He died from his injuries on Monday.

Attempted bank robber sought in Pinellas, Pasco

Attempted bank robber sought in Pinellas, Pasco

Clearwater, Florida -- Police say the same man tried to rob banks in Pinellas and Pasco County today, and failed.


The first attempt came at a Bank of America branch on Belleair Road in Clearwater. When the suspect gave a teller a demand note, she hesitated and told her co-workers of the robbery. The man fled, empty handed, police said.


A little later, a Pasco County Suntrust bank located in Holiday was targeted by a man fitting the same description.

Hit and run driver who killed biker makes first appearance

Hit and run driver who killed biker makes first appearance

Largo, FL -- An 18-year-old, accused of being the hit and run driver who killed a New Port Richey man Saturday, made his first appearance at the Pinellas County Courthouse yesterday.

Leo Gilghrest of Oldsmar was traveling southbound on McMullen Booth Road in his Honda Accord when he made a left turn at Tarpon Woods Boulevard in Palm Harbor and hit Duane Murphy, 48, who was on his Kawasaki motorcycle.

Murphy was ejected from the bike and Gilghrest fled the scene. Police found Gilghrest's car at Ridgemoore Community Park on Ridgemoore Drive abandoned.

Gilghrest was given a $10,000 bond on the charge of leaving the scene of an accident involving a death, and a $1,000 bond on a marijuana possession charge from Dec. 14.