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Cops Corner

Man's wallet stolen from a bar top in cigarette-snatching scam

Distracted by claims of a stolen smoke, a bar patron had his wallet stolen from atop a bar. This and more reports from the Sarasota Police Department in this week's Cops Corner.

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Monday, Feb. 20

Bar trick

8:55 p.m.,1400 block of Main Street

Robbery: A man sitting at a downtown bar reported his wallet, which he had laid atop the bar, was stolen. The victim told police while sitting there he was tapped on the shoulder by a man demanding to know where his cigarette was. He responded he did not have it but because the suspect was behaving aggressively, offered to give him money to de-escalate the situation. The suspect repeated his question while pointing to his waistband and stated he had a weapon. The suspect then left on a bicycle, after which the victim noticed his wallet was missing. 

While speaking with the victim, officers were approached by an employee of a neighboring bar who stated that a fellow employee sent him a photo of a male subject who was causing similar disruptions there. Witnesses confirmed it was the same individual. Other patrons said they witnessed the incident, and an officer recognized the suspect from several prior contacts with police. 

The suspect was later located on his bicycle as a chase ensued. When captured, officers were unable to locate the victim’s wallet in his possession. Identified by the victim in the lineup, the suspect was transported to Sarasota County Jail.

Monday, Feb. 20

Police car vs. curb

1:30 p.m, Waldemere Street near South Tamiami Trail

Property damage: An officer responding to a call had a minor accident causing damage to a patrol vehicle. When dispatched to a residential burglary in progress the officer attempted a u-turn, causing the passenger-side front fender to brush a loose yellow reflective pole that he could not see over the hood. Running over the curb then caused the passenger-side tires to flatten. The vehicle remained stuck on the curb until a towing company arrived to assist. 

Wednesday, Feb. 22

Rough horseplay

10:27 p.m., 2500 block of 10th Street

Dispute: An intoxicated father playing rough with his children prompted his wife to call police. The complainant told police there was no physical incident between the two, but that her husband “gets really intoxicated at times” and when he does he becomes more playful with their children, but the horseplay at times can become a bit rough. 

The complainant called law enforcement, she said, when he began yelling at the children, although he did not become physical with them. She did say he bit their daughter on the hand earlier that evening. Leaving barely a mark, it was determined that it was done in a playful manner and there was no intent to harm. The man said he had not put his hands on anyone inside the home and he went to his room to change into pajamas after arriving home. Police found no further need to investigate.



Andrew Warfield

Andrew Warfield is the Sarasota Observer city reporter. He is a four-decade veteran of print media. A Florida native, he has spent most of his career in the Carolinas as a writer and editor, nearly a decade as co-founder and editor of a community newspaper in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.