RIDGE MANOR A Lacoochee man was arrested Friday night after a sheriff's deputy doing surveillance in Ridge Manor saw him attempt to take a Tampa Tribune newspaper box, according to a sheriff's office report.
In his report, Deputy Brian Stephens wrote he saw Eric Layne Harrelson, 36, pull over his white Ford Explorer near the intersection of Riverdale Drive and Paulette Boulevard next to the box, and turn off the vehicle's lights.
Harrelson then opened the back of the SUV, lifted the newspaper box and tried to put it in the back. Harrelson was unsuccessful, and then got back into the passenger side of the vehicle.
When Stephens conducted a traffic stop and questioned Harrelson about the incident, the man at first "denied attempting to take the paper box and advised he was looking for his cell phone," and that he turned off the lights so the vehicle wouldn't catch on fire, according to the report.
After being taken into custody, Harrelson admitted to trying to take the newspaper box. Harrelson was booked on attempted grand theft charges, as well as possessing a firearm and drug equipment; he is being held on no bond because he was released on bond in Pasco County.
Jail records show Harrelson was arrested in 2010 on charges of probation violation. Prison records show Harrelson was incarcerated in 1998, from 2001 to 2003 and from 2007 to 2008 on charges including burglary, grand theft, arson and uttering forged instruments.