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Cars ransacked in Lincolnshire
LARGO – Police Chief Lester Aradi reported Monday that a dozen vehicles were apparently burglarized in the Lincolnshire Mobile Home Park early on Sunday, Feb. 19.

A newspaper distributor called 911 during the early morning hours to report having seen a number of cars with their doors ajar in the park. Responding officers found several of the cars with “KKK” spray painted on them near the park’s clubhouse, Aradi said.

Only small amounts of change were taken from the unlocked cars throughout the park, the chief said. He added that it appeared that a half dozen bicycles also were taken and abandoned near the clubhouse.

Aradi said that “while the initials KKK were spray painted on the cars, it is unlikely that this is a true hate crime.

“More likely just young adults who took advantage of an opportunity to be stupid,” he said.

Police believe bank robbery solved
LARGO – Police last week charged a Clearwater man with the Feb. 1 robbery of the Fifth Third Bank branch on Indian Rocks Road.

Detective Randy Chaney said Robert J. Eckes, 26, was arrested at the Pinellas County Jail on Feb. 15 on one felony count of robbery in the Largo robbery, and his bail on that charge was set at $20,000.

Eckes was in the jail after he was caught by Pinellas County sheriff’s deputies minutes after he allegedly robbed the Fifth Third Bank branch in Seminole on Feb. 10. He was apprehended after a passerby saw him run from the bank and followed him, guiding a sheriff’s helicopter to the suspect, reports said.

Chaney said that Clearwater police are also investigating whether Eckes is also a suspect in a bank robbery there two weeks ago.

Carjacking thwarted
LARGO – Police say a carjacking was thwarted last week by an alert passerby.

Chief Lester Aradi said officers were called to the Albertsons supermarket on East Bay Drive at 5 p.m. Feb. 15 by a parking enforcement officer. She told officers that a witness had pointed to a car in which there was supposedly an armed man and unconscious woman.

Upon investigation, officers found Samuel Dobbins, 40, and a toy pistol. The woman in the car said she was in the driver’s seat of her car when an unknown man approached her, displayed a handgun and demanded money and her car.

When the victim refused and became hysterical, Aradi said, Dobbins tried to console her. Then officers arrived and arrested him without incident.

Dobbins was booked into the Pinellas County Jail on felony charges of attempted carjacking

and attempted robbery. His bail was set at $25,000. State records show Dobbins was released from state prison in 2002 after serving 18 months on a burglary conviction in Palm Beach County.

Aradi noted Dobbins was arrested on his 40th birthday, saying the charges were “birthday gifts” for the suspect.
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