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2016-11-04 digital edition

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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2018 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved.


November 4, 2016  RSS feed

Text: T T T

Museum burglary leaves priceless artifacts intact

A man broke into the Florida Holocaust Museum Sunday morning, Oct. 30, St. Petersburg police said, but apparently caused no damage other than to a security keypad and call box at an entrance.

Museum officials said internal security measures prevented the intruder from getting past the delivery area and nothing was taken. The museum is located at 55 Fifth St. S. in downtown St. Petersburg.

“In the past few years, local grants from Homeland Security have allowed us to begin upgrading our security systems,” said museum Executive Director Elizabeth Gelman. “Those security measures - and the quick response from the St Petersburg police - assisted in keeping damage to the minimum.”

St. Petersburg police say they responded to an alarm at 3:04 a.m. and arrested Christopher Michael Venegas, a 23-year-old man who lives in the Feather Sound area. St. Petersburg Police Public Information Officer Rick L. Shaw said the suspect gave no indication of a possible motive for the break-in.

Police said they took Venegas into custody without incident. They said nothing inside the museum was found to be missing or damaged.

The museum has been a fixture in Pinellas County since 1992 and in its current location since 1998. The museum houses permanent exhibits related to the Holocaust such as photographs and other artifacts from the era and a boxcar that was used to transport victims to Nazi death camps such as Auschwitz and Treblinka, Poland. It also displays rotating and traveling exhibitions, including art and photography.

Vanagas was charged with one count of commercial burglary and released on $5,000 bail.

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