Saturday, June 15, 2024

Clearwater police arrest two teens in hate related criminal mischief cases

Clearwater Police detectives have made two arrests in three cases of criminal mischief that occurred last weekend where vehicles were damaged and hate speech was used with spray paint.

A 16-year-old male Clearwater High student was arrested today, along with a 16-year-old male Largo High student. In addition to the cases in Clearwater, there were cases in the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office jurisdiction and Tarpon Springs.

Each suspect will be charged with criminal mischief, burglary and petit theft
in the Clearwater cases. A hate-crime enhancement will be added to the charges.

The incidents occurred in the 3000 block of Turtle Brook Drive, the 1600 block of Coachmakers Lane and the 2300 block of Stag Run. The Turtle Brook Drive one occurred between 7 p.m. Saturday and 7:45 a.m. Sunday; the other two incidents occurred early Sunday.

Windows were shattered in some cases; a tire was punctured in another. In multiple cases, racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic graffiti was spray-painted on the vehicles.

“What these two bigots did were serious crimes that will affect their future school and professional goals,” said Police Chief Dan Slaughter. “There is no place for this kind of hate-filled behavior in our community. I’d like to thank our detectives for getting to the bottom of these senseless crimes as quickly as they did.”

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