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Residents Dissolve Lyndhurst Street Neighborhood Watch

Leaders dissolved the Dunedin neighborhood group last week, citing an overwhelming feeling of a lack of support from the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

An emotional interaction between residents and a Pinellas County Sheriff's sergeant was the last straw for frustrated leaders of the Lyndhurst Street Neighborhood Watch group last Wednesday.

Lyndhurst Street residents say they were merely reporting suspicious activity on their Dunedin street on Nov. 28, like Sheriff Bob Gualtieri encouraged them to do 15 days earlier during a Nov. 13 Southside Town Hall meeting at the Hale Senior Activity Center.

Gualtieri told residents to keep calling, but that it takes time and lots of undercover work to infiltrate an underground drug operation.

Deputies arrived on the scene Nov. 28 and searched persons in the driveway at a residence, ultimately releasing the individuals, said ex-Lyndhurst Neighborhood Watch leaders Stacy Rush, a former policewoman, and Donald DeVore, her fiance. 

That's when a Pinellas County Sheriff sergeant came to the scene.

As soon as the responding deputies left the scene, the sergeant allegedly yelled at Rush, whom he assumed called in the tip, she said.

The sergeant, whose name was not known to residents, allegedly "got into their faces," told them to "stop calling" the Sheriff's Office, and "you don't know what you're seeing," Rush and DeVore, who both supported Scott Swope, Gualtieri's 2012 election opponent, told Dunedin Patch on Friday. 

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That incident, compounded by several others in which Rush alleges being harassed, was the last straw. Rush, DeVore and two other residents pointed to neighborhood incidents involving a pizza delivery prank, a Nov. 18 verbal altercation that nearly erupted in a neighborhood brawl, a fist fight in the middle of Milwaukee Street with authorities one block away, and a suspicious after-dark delivery from an ice cream truck — all with no arrests — as evidence authorities are not taking their concerns seriously.

The 10 key members of the Lyndhurst Neighborhood Watch, at only about three months old, agreed that it would disband the 70- to 80-member group immediately after the Wednesday incident, despite a meeting scheduled for Dec. 5.

An email announcement was sent Nov. 28 at 7:09 p.m.:

This letter is to inform all those interested the South Side Neighborhood Watch has been dissolved. We have been left with little to no support from Sheriff Dept since the last meeting. We have been made to feel like the criminals by law enforcement. Sorry, but we are not safe trying to help the South Side of Dunedin be drug and crime. We have been given excuses and no action.  We have been told not to call SO by Sheriff Dept. We are not seeing drug deals go down or other crime. We do not know what we are seeing. Good luck to those living on the South side.

The key members of committee all agreed to end this Watch.

There will be no Meeting on December 5, 2012.

"We no longer trust the Sheriff's Office for protection," Rush said from her front porch just two days after the announcement.

Rush said the group had one meeting and recently declined a free Pinellas County Sheriff's class that teaches residents how to observe and report suspicious persons and potential criminal activity.

The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office held the annual National Night Out on a plot of land across from Rush and DeVore's duplex in early August.

Donna Morris December 09, 2012 at 04:15 AM
wow...lots of drama here. as in any situation, there is good and bad. good neighbors, bad neighbors, good cops, bad cops, etc. rather than be discouraged by bad cops, take it to a higher authority and demand answers....the neighborhood watch should attend city meetings as a united group and confront city officials, ask for a special meeting with Bob Gualtieri and city officials in attendance. get out your camcorders, iphones, etc and film these drug deals.the squeaky wheel gets oiled. it is true that it takes months of investigating to gather evidence to make arrests that will stick, but the real problem is that they use the 2 bit dealers to get to the big fish and the small timers are left to continue to do business as usual, and the jails are so overcrowded that these dealer are released to house arrest or probation and continue to deal while serving their time. the criminal justice system is a money making racket within itself people, so what did you expect. personally, I am appalled that after all the dirty business exposure the SO has had under Gualtieri, the voters re elected him.....shows how out of touch with reality the average citizen is.....sad state of affairs it is.
Donna Morris December 09, 2012 at 04:21 AM
great job calling Justina out on her BS.........time for her to crawl back in her hole with her drug dealing buddies.
Concerned December 09, 2012 at 11:39 AM
We are one neighborhood, we do stand together in that we want the "little guys" out of our neighborhood. Some of these neighbors have been here a long time and to them this is normal. To some of them these are their kids and they feel like their kids are being "picked on" for whatever reason they do or do not realize their kids are now young adults who are the problem. Hello mom your kids have been in and out of jail some of them in and out of state prison. They will go back because they have not learned their lesson, and if you continue to allow these things to happen on your property in your "shed" or on your drive way's. They will go back sooner. WE THE NEIGHBORS are tired of this crap. They are not teen's anymore they are in their 20's now its time for them to grow up and these "deal's " to stop. Mom's believe me when I say WE are not afraid of you or your boys, WE THE NEIGBORS are tired of their crap. So either they move or WE will continue to call the SO and your children will continue to get stopped when they are doing things that are not good. Mom's Good boys and girls do not carry drugs or guns, Good boys don't go in and out of Jail or Prison. If they have learned from their mistakes they do not continue to do those things. The encouragement to change has to start at home.
Concerned December 09, 2012 at 11:41 AM
Karen, You may think you are helping by calling Stacy out and trying to make her feel bad, but your not and she won't feel bad. These Punks need to stop what they are doing. They need to take there "crack hores" as they have been called and go away. WE the neighbors are not going to put up with it anymore. So let it be known the SO will continue to come out here everyday and stop them if they see fit, because that is what their job is. These boys are not kids anymore they are men who will continue to visit the Pinellas county jail because of their choices to continue what they have always done, because their Mamma's will continue to bail them out and say "NOT my son, my son is a good boy, they are just picking on him" Ladies we are NOT picking on them, they are selling drugs in OUR neighborhood and we are tired of it.
very concerned December 09, 2012 at 01:15 PM
Hi Donna- I agree you this is a sad state to be in. I just recently moved back on James street to be with my father who is ill. I am not sure who has the worst mentally the "drug dealer" or the "crime watch". A divided house never stands. Take care.
Stacy Rush December 09, 2012 at 01:52 PM
Karen, just give us your address and we will give it to them. You can give them safe harbor to buy/sell drugs and various other crimes at your home on your street. Really???
Stacy Rush December 09, 2012 at 01:53 PM
Donna we have met with City and Sheriff. Huge meeting!! City is behind neighbor hood.
Lori Kernohan December 09, 2012 at 09:01 PM
I agree 100% with Concerned, the problem starts at home, I understand us Single Mom's have to work and its hard to keep on top of your children, but the first time they get into trouble with the law, that's it, there is not 2nd or 3rd chances, and I certainly would not allow a child of mine to live in my house, or hang around my house with their (so called friends) and make drug deals. The parent has to put their foot down or let the law get them and keep them. It's very very sad how our children are turning out these days because their parents cannot control them better.
Lori December 10, 2012 at 02:33 PM
Yep, I forwarded this to the city officials....Did anyone really expect they would respond?! And if they did its always a bunch of crap and lip service...Stacey HUGE meeting??? Whats Up!? All I can say Karen and Justina is WOW...Not in a good way either....
Stacy Rush December 10, 2012 at 04:29 PM
We had a huge meeting on Nov 14th over 80 people there at Hale Senior Center. City is wanting to help. They have spoken to myself and others.
Lori December 10, 2012 at 05:10 PM
Stacey, You TRULY believe city is going to help!?...Especially after the way the SO treated you? ITS BAD BY PLZAZ DRIVE TOO!
Lori December 10, 2012 at 05:10 PM
Oh, I was at that meeting...I didnt get any good vibes...
Lori December 10, 2012 at 05:12 PM
I MEANT PLAZA
Albert P. December 10, 2012 at 07:03 PM
I have been talked to by police in the same condesending , arrogant, rude manner. More than once I have felt like a criminal when I was a victim. I talk to them in a respectful manner and hope to be treated likewise. I was shocked. I know they cannot all be this way..and I know there are excellent ones...and I know it is a difficult job...but....this is my experience. I have never had this experience in other places I have lived.
Opinionated...sometimes December 10, 2012 at 09:14 PM
Albert, I agree. If you read my first comment it states just that. There is a big issue within the Pinellas SO that needs to be addressed and with their attitude and trying to "fix" the neighborhood its going to be difficult. But I hope/pray something can happen in a good way...
Lori December 11, 2012 at 02:11 PM
NOTHING IS GOING TO HAPPEN TO CURTAIL ANY OF THE CRAP IN THE SOUTHSIDE! ARROGANT COPS AND THE CRIMINALS ARE SMARTER THAN THEY ARE! MEETING OD NOV 14..OK SO WHATS THE NEWS SINCE THEN? PROBABLY NOT A THING...LIP SERVICE! CITY OFFICIALS AND LEO DONT CARE AT ALL ABOUT THE TAX PAYING RESIDENTS OF THE SOUTHSIDE. SOON AS MARKET PICKS UP HOUSE GOES ON MARKET...LET SOMEONE ELSE DEAL WITH THIS CRAP!
Concerned December 11, 2012 at 02:48 PM
With residence like you Lori your right nothing will change, you see you have to stick together and do the right thing not bash and hide. Be constructive.
Donna Morris December 11, 2012 at 03:01 PM
You are correct, Concerned. only a united supportive neighborhood will prevail.
Concerned December 11, 2012 at 03:38 PM
Thank you Donna, You see I believe "the little guys" and The SO will get the picture one way or another that this is NOT one Couple, one couple does not make or break a neighborhood, but one couple has started to lead this neighborhood in the right direction, it is now time for the neighborhood to come together and stand together to say enough is enough. The SO will have to listen or the FDLE will.
Donna Morris December 13, 2012 at 02:32 PM
Like I said people.....only a united front will prevail. You can't be bashing each other and expect to accomplish, what should be, a common goal here. get it together, and put the pettiness aside. if someone is not on board, then move on w/o them and don't waste your time or energy debating a lost cause.
Karen Burton December 16, 2012 at 04:07 PM
Saw a whole bunch of sheriff's this Sunday morning looking for person or persons around Lyndhurst area. What gives?
Lori Kernohan December 16, 2012 at 06:50 PM
The SO 's arent playing games any more they are out to get all criminals............
Opinionated...sometimes December 16, 2012 at 06:56 PM
we can only hope and pray
Stacy Rush December 17, 2012 at 02:31 PM
Sheriff, Capt, Lt and Sgt, all agree it is time to clean streets of Dunedin and warn. Criminals it is time to go. Friday they were like bees swarming. Criminals running like cock roaches. Thank you SO!!! Knocking on doors and walking streets has began to make a differance. Over rest of weekend had criminals on the run.
NotsafeinDunedin December 17, 2012 at 03:15 PM
I have to say the Officers have made an impact over the last few days Thank you!
Karen Burton December 17, 2012 at 09:01 PM
Was anyone apprehended? What were the crimes?
Stacy Rush December 21, 2012 at 04:17 PM
Check out todays Patch!!!!!
Concerned December 21, 2012 at 04:28 PM
They dont have to be apprehended for the BS to stop Karen just having the Sheriff's presnence has made a huge impact, alot of the in and out drug traffic has come to a hault, which is what we wanted.
Stacy Rush December 21, 2012 at 05:11 PM
Concerned you are right!!! All that have been following Lyndhurst Street and South Side read todays patch!!! SO keep up good work!!!:)
PROUD OF SO December 23, 2012 at 05:54 PM
SO, I have always 100 % supported your efforts to keep the streets of Dunedin safe. If you take time to read the comments posted one minute the residents are bashing you and indicating that you are running a underground drug ring and the next they are singing your praise. Unstable minds don't make sense sometimes. I speak for a lot of residents in Dunedin we are grateful to have you as our SO. Again thank your for your great work to keep the streets safe. I will always support you through the good and bad. Merry Christmas!!!

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