Crimes lead police to increase Pinellas Trail security

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Angelo Campagna likes to ride on the Pinellas Trail a few times a week, but his wife doesn't want him going anywhere near where two armed robberies occurred Feb. 1 in St. Petersburg.

"This is just a beautiful path and it's great to ride," said Campagna, who lives in Treasure Island. "It's just unfortunate when you have something like this happen."

Police are still looking for Germaine Small, who they say beat a couple and stole their bikes.

That same week, another woman told us she was thrown to the ground by a man who took her bike.

Tuesday, cyclists had to dodge a woman who drove her pickup truck on the trail, smashing barriers along the way.

County officials and law enforcement talked with volunteers Wednesday about stepping up security. They say there are more patrols and video surveillance. And they are making certain areas more accessible to police for faster response time.

"One of the most important things when dealing with the Pinellas Trail and auxiliary rangers is to make sure that everyone is as safe as possible," said Paul Cozzie, Pinellas County parks and conservation resources director.

Police offered a list of tips to stay safe, including traveling in groups, carrying a cellphone and varying the times and routes you travel.

But most important: Be aware.

"Look around and understand your surroundings. Don't get tunnel vision," said St. Petersburg police officer Ron Wolfson.

Angelo said he's still biking the trail with his wife's permission.

"After I told my wife I saw two patrolmen, she was a little more comfortable with it," said Campagna.

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