Sheriff's Office Response: 'No Arrests in Alleged Armed Robbery'
The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office explained to the city why no arrest was made in an Aug. 16 incident in which a teen with alleged drug ties falsely reported being robbed at knifepoint.
A lack of evidence is the reason why a teen was not arrested for reportedly misleading authorities earlier this month, Pinellas County Sheriff's Office officials said in reply to city and resident concerns regarding the incident earlier this week.
"There is no way to prove or disprove the allegations or involvement by either party and therefore not enough information or evidence to either make an arrest for robbery or filing a false police report or cause the case to be referred to the State Attorney’s Office," Lt. Gary Dimmer wrote in an email to Dunedin city officials Wednesday.
A teen accused a Dunedin couple of robbing him of $100 at knifepoint while walking near Beltrees Street on Aug. 16, according to deputies. The alleged suspects denied any attack, but admitted to purchasing drugs from the teen, for which they owed him $100.
Providing false information to a law enforcement officer is a misdemeanor, according to Florida Statutes 817.49. However, no charges were filed and no arrests were made.
The City of Dunedin received the explanation, provided in its entiretly below, from Lt. Gary Dimmer of the Sheriff's Office on Wednesday. At the direction of City Manager Rob DiSpirito, it was forwarded to Dunedin Patch on Friday.
Lt. Leiner and I reviewed the report in reference to the Armed Robbery and the comments posted in the Patch. The reason no arrests were made was because there were no independent witnesses to the robbery claim, no evidence of injury to the victim and no admission by the suspects or subsequent denials by the victim that the robbery either did or didn’t occur. The guardian of the “victim” also declined to pursue prosecution. There is no way to prove or disprove the allegations or involvement by either party and therefore not enough information or evidence to either make an arrest for robbery or filing a false police report or cause the case to be referred to the State Attorney’s Office.
With respect to the “Comments”… as you know, we cannot arrest people just because they say they are or are suspected of being involved in drug dealing, even if they admit to selling drugs or are owed money for them… and we cannot stop and search people, their belongings or their premises without justification just because they walk down the street or live in the neighborhood even though they may have a history of prior arrests.
We are now aware of these particular individuals and their activities and will use this information as part of our enforcement activities going forward. As with anything of this nature, we must try to look for or create opportunities to engage them and that typically takes time in these cases. Rest assured however that we have and will continue utilize our resources to investigate the allegations, patrol the neighborhood and actively look for opportunities to contact these individuals and others reportedly involved in this activity and deal with them accordingly.