Clearwater police arrest couple in beach blanket theft - WFLA News Channel 8

Clearwater police arrest couple in beach blanket theft

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A leisurely swim at the beach turned into a theft, pursuit and ended with two people in jail.

Clearwater Police say 37-year old Michael Paske was at Clearwater Beach around 7 p.m. Wednesday night when, officers say, he left his blanket on the beach and went into the water.

Officials said Paske he saw a man and a woman take off with his beach blanket and belongings. Paske called authorities and attempted to chase after the two individuals.

While on the phone, he told police the couple jumped in a car and told a 15-year-old boy to drive from the scene. Authorities later learned the boy was the son of one of the suspects.

Police responded and stopped the car a short time later.

They arrested 25-year-old Ashley Nenu and 43-year-old Paul Guglielmo, both of Holiday. Both face charges of petit theft and child neglect, for directing the minor to drive.

Officers took both to the Pinellas County Jail where they bonded out a short time later.

Police say this type of crime is on the rise.  "We've had about 41 cases since May first."  Said City of Clearwater spokeswoman Joelle Castelli.  "Last year in that same time period it was 22 cases."  Castelli says this type of crime can be easily prevented.  "When we go to the beach we take turns going into the water with the kids. Take turns going on a walk. So someone is always there with our stuff. The other thing you can do is leave your valuables at home or in a safe secured area."

Investigators attribute the rise to more tourists on the beach this year, and more events on the beach attracting visitors.  Police have beefed up their presence and there are also undercover officers patrolling the area.

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