PINELLAS COUNTY, FL (WFLA) – St. Petersburg Police Master Officer Chip Wells has spent more than a decade educating the public on safety. In the wake of two attacks on Pinellas real estate agents, he spent the morning with a room packed with realtors at the Pinellas Realtor Organization.
“My whole purpose of this entire seminar, is to make sure at the end of the day, you go home in the same condition you were when you woke up in the morning. ” Wells said. “Because there have been so many attacks on realtors, throughout the United States recently, and the couple here.”
According to police, in the recent attacks Paul Pinkston set up showings with two agents. In one case, detectives say he held the agent at gunpoint, bound her, and then called her husband demanding money. When he was unsuccessful, he moved on to the second agent, held her against her will and robbed her, according to police reports.
Officers arrested Pinkston days after the attacks and charged him with two counts of robbery and two counts of kidnapping. Deputies released him from jail after he posted a $500,000 bond.
News Channel 8 obtained court documents that reveal officers had found numerous items including several handguns, an iPad, three straw hats and financial records after serving a search warrant at Pinkston’s home.
The agents who were the victims in these recent attacks attended Friday’s safety meeting. One agent, who didn’t want to be identified, says training seminars are important.
“It starts the awareness level, ” she said. “And there were some very good tips made. But when there are guns involved, it’s really hard to predict what is the right answer.”
But she believes, even with training, future attacks will happen.
“I couldn’t have gone for my cell phone, ” she added. “He would’ve shot me. I didn’t have it in my hand. I had a pen in my hand. Was I going to stab him with it? ”
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