Convicted man back in jail
MANATEE — An Orlando man has been brought to Manatee County after authorities say he violated his probation stemming from a 1994 conviction for killing a Holmes Beach man.
Joseph Wharran, 41, was brought to the Manatee County jail Thursday on the probation violation. Court records show Wharran’s probation officer said Wharran failed to remain at his approved home under community control conditions.
Wharran is on probation until 2011 in the 1994 killing of 51-year-old Thomas Fortuner, for which he was sentenced to 22 years in prison for manslaughter. Wharran had been fighting with a co-worker on the Palma Sola Causeway, when he threw a ladder at the man.
The ladder missed Wharran’s target, and instead hit Fortuner passing by on a motorcycle. He was thrown from the bike and later died.
Sex offender arrested third time in six months
MANATEE — A Manatee sex offender has been arrested for the third time in six months on charges of failing to notify authorities of a change in residence, according to a Manatee County Sheriff’s Office report.
Detectives with the sheriff’s sex offender unit arrested Ricky Taylor III, 27, on Tuesday, saying he failed to meet with his probation officer or to notify state authorities of an address change.
Taylor had been arrested on the same charges in October and November, but bonded out of jail, according to the sheriff’s report.
Taylor is now being held without bond at the Manatee County jail on the new charge, and on probation violation charges.
He is a registered sex offender for a 2003 conviction for lewd and lascivious battery on a child between the ages of 12 and 15, according to Florida Department of Law Enforcement records.
Police: Man damaged wiring at school being built
PALMETTO — Police say a Palmetto man badly damaged electrical wiring on a new school under construction in search of copper, according to a Palmetto Police Department report.
Officers say Robert James Heaton, 28, broke into a construction site next to where the new Palmetto Elementary School is being built, in the 1500 block of 10th Street West, and stripped a transformer box of copper.
Heaton then hot-wired a forklift and plowed through a fence around the school construction site, the police report stated.
He then broke into the school’s main electrical room and tried to remove more copper, according to police.
Police arrested Heaton on charges of burglary and grand theft. He was being held in the Manatee County jail on $26,000 bond.
Chase leads to neglect charge for Bradenton man
BRADENTON — A Bradenton man faces a slew of charges, including child neglect, after police say he took officers on a high speed chase with a baby in the backseat of his car.
Police arrested Antonio Nunez, 22, on numerous charges Thursday, following a chase that spanned several blocks, according to a Bradenton Police Department report.
Officers say Nunez sped off from an attempted traffic stop and blew through numerous stop signs while reaching 60 mph between Seventh Street West and 23rd Avenue West. Nunez eventually stopped and ran from his car. He was captured nearby by police.
Police found a woman and 2-month-old baby in his car, and she told officers Nunez had been driving. A search of the car also revealed a pipe and scale, both of which had cocaine on them, the police report stated.
In addition to child neglect, police arrested Nunez on charges of reckless driving, possession of cocaine, possession of drug paraphernalia, resisting arrest and driving with a suspended license. He was being held without bond in the Manatee County jail.
Burglars take safe with $10K from convenience store
MANATEE — Two masked burglars stole a safe containing $10,000 in cash during a break-in early Friday at a Manatee convenience store, according to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.
About 3:35 a.m., a security camera captured the suspects backing up a late-model silver minivan to the door of Petrol Mart, 6513 14th St. W. One of the suspects smashed the glass door, and the pair entered the store, according to a news release.
They threw the safe over the counter, and then dragged it to the van, loaded it inside and drove off.
It appeared as if there was a rag or flap blocking the license tag on the van, according to the sheriff’s office.
Also in the safe were winning lottery tickets that had been signed by the owner for redemption, the sheriff’s office said.
The suspects were described in the news release as wearing dark clothing, including long-sleeve shirts, masks and gloves.
— Robert Napper and Marc R. Masferrer