CLEARWATER – A robber used a unique getaway vehicle to steal a 32-inch TV from the Super Target at the Clearwater Mall on Jan. 15.
Around 11 p.m., just before closing, the suspect entered the store and at first was looking at cellphone cases, a Clearwater police report said. The next stop was the TV section, where he soon selected a 32-inch Element LCD TV. The video shows him skating through parts of the store with the TV in his hands, the report said.
When store personnel confronted him near the store’s exit, the suspect allegedly brandished a utility knife and ran out the store, TV and skateboard in his hand. Once outside, he jumped on the skateboard and headed toward Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard. He was last seen zipping east on the road. He was only in the store for about three minutes, the report said.
The suspect is described as a white male in his 20s with a thin build. He is about 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighs about 150. He was wearing a black hoodie, dark jeans, green Nike shoes and had a black backpack. The skateboard was brown in color with orange-yellow wheels.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” said John Brown, the robbery detective investigating the case. “He gets an A for creativity. But he committed a serious crime and we need to find him.”
Anyone with information should call Clearwater police at 562-4242.
Woman dies after setting herself on fire CLEARWATER – A 44-year-old woman died on Jan. 16 after suffering apparently self-inflicted burns, according to Clearwater police.
Rhonda Wolfe was discovered by her husband around 10:47 p.m., and she was on fire, the report said. The man called Clearwater Fire and Rescue, who then also called the Clearwater Police Department. Officials from both agencies stayed on scene to try to determine how she ended up on fire, including bringing in a Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office forensic unit and the fire department’s arson dog, Quincy, to the residence at 2880 Lemonwood St.
The woman was taken by helicopter to Bayfront Health St. Petersburg, where she died shortly before midnight. She suffered third-degree burns all over her body.
A preliminary investigation by police determined that this was a suicide. There were two gas cans along with a lighter found in the garage next to the victim, as well as a suicide note. An autopsy conducted by the Pasco-Pinellas Medical Examiner’s Office did not result in a final cause of death. That will be released once final toxicology tests are complete.