DUNEDIN – All is calm in Dunedin, according to Pinellas County Sheriff’s Capt. Glenn Luben. There was nothing major to report on for crime or trends in the city for the quarterly Sheriff’s Corner to the Dunedin City Commission.
So the school resource officers and a community policing officer gave status reports to the commission instead – all with good news to report.
Deputy Miguel Echevarria is the school resource officer for Dunedin High School. It is his first year in this position at the school, but he has worked for the Sheriff’s Office for 26 years, he said.
The main issues this school year are a few thefts of items such as bikes, cell phones and other electronics, he said. One of the reasons for this is that not enough kids are locking their bikes up each day, he said. Other than that, there have been a few violations of probations and very few drug charges so far.
The school has upgraded its camera system, Echevarria said, and the SADD program – Students Against Drunk Driving – has been doing quite well, with about 80 students in the club. There is a field trip planned to the jail, and there is a lot of interest in that, he said.
Overall, fights are down, and Echevarria said the school has a great principal.
Likewise, things are going well at Dunedin Highland Middle School, its resource officer reported. There have been a few fights, but nothing major, and arrests are way down, he said. Three years ago there were 68 arrests, last year there were only 17, and this year there have been just five so far, he said.
Mayor Dave Eggers asked Luben about two break-in incidents that happened in the historic southside of the city. Luben said these were separate, isolated incidents and that he was on both calls.
“One happened on the midnight shift off of the Trail on Broadway on the south end of the city,” Luben said. “It was a male who attacked a female in bed. He fled the scene, we locked the neighborhood down with the police vehicles and the helicopter and the K-9. We eventually caught him trying to get back through the perimeter. He lived on Roanoke (Street) on the corner of Douglas (Avenue.) He was wearing a pair of boxer shorts and it was the night that it was 40 degrees out. He said he was out jogging.”
The K-9 dog tracked to a trash can where deputies found a jacket that the victim identified, Luben said. This wasn’t a normal burglary, he said, so deputies investigated how the victim and the suspect are related. It turned out that the suspect worked with the victim’s sister and that he had been to the house before, Luben said.
The next morning, deputies and the helicopter were out looking for the rest of the suspect’s clothes “Because we knew that wasn’t his entire attire that night,” Luben said.
He is being held in jail and the legal proceedings are underway.
“That was a very serious case that was averted,” Luben said. “Hopefully he will go to prison for a long, long time.”
The other incident was near the historic Fenway Hotel, Luben said, which was the case of career criminals. The suspects tried to break into two houses, but neighbors alerted deputies to both of them. It turned out that they had already committed a burglary at another home, and deputies found the items stolen from that home hidden near the home of one of the other burglary attempts. Those suspects were shortly caught and arrested, he said.