June 14, 2020
I want to make you aware of some incidents that occurred over the past few weeks in our neighborhood so all in VI can be informed and on the lookout for similar patterns going forward.
First, in late May the St. Pete Police Department (“SPPD”) were called to investigate persons who were “squatting” at 2030 Carolina, a home that was for sale and had been unoccupied but was under contract and set to close. Evidently, they gained entry by breaking a window. A neighbor noticed this activity, confronted those persons and called police.
The weekend of June 5 - 7, the following occurred at 1956 Carolina Ave (“1956”), a residence that is for sale and has been unoccupied for some time:
Evening of June 5 – A VI resident noticed a group of people moving into 1956. Thinking that this could be another group of squatters or a “short-term” Airbnb rental, that resident notified me. Additionally, that resident called the owner of the home, as well as the listing agent, who responded that the owner was not renting the house but was letting “friends” use it for the weekend. However, online research indicated 1956 is listed on Airbnb and has been rented out numerous times, so I asked another neighbor of 1956 to monitor the home for evidence of short-term rentals.
Morning of June 6 -- The second resident reported that there had been cars coming and going throughout the night and it certainly seemed like there was suspicious activity. I passed this information along to SPPD Officer Don Herring, our community policing officer.
Evening of June 6 – Officer Herring notified me that several persons (I think he said 5) who had been staying at 1956 had been arrested and charged with weapons offenses, including what appeared to be an AK-47, and drug possession. Thankfully, the SPPD surveilled the residents of 1956 and made the arrest outside of VI.
In light of the events outlined above, I’d like to remind all the residents in VI of the following: