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Date of Issue: March 17, 2005

Warrants were 'mistakes' say Phillips couple

The outstanding warrants served on Roger and Sherry Phillips of Bradenton Beach last week were "mistakes," said Sherry Phillips, and all charges have now been cleared.

The two were taken into custody by Bradenton Beach Police Feb. 22 on an outstanding warrant from Manatee County for Sherry Phillips and from Marion County for Roger Phillips.

Sherry Phillips was released that evening while Roger Phillips was released the next day after Sherry Phillips paid Roger's outstanding fine on Feb. 23 and Marion County issued an order canceling its prior warrant. The warrant was for an unpaid traffic fine to the Marion County Clerk of the Circuit Court.

  The warrant for Sherry Phillips involved a check used to purchase goods at a Bradenton store and restitution was made in December, she said. According to Phillips, the error was corrected when she was interviewed by MCSO deputies Feb. 22. Efforts to reach prosecutor Glenn Reid of the state attorney's office in Bradenton to confirm the error were unsuccessful by press deadline.

Unfortunately, said Sherry, the resulting publicity has really hurt them and their four children. The family lost their Bradenton Beach apartment in a Feb. 10 fire, but the outpouring of Islanders in the form of cash and donations allowed them to rent an apartment on Gulf Drive in Bradenton Beach.

The couples' four children - 8, 7, 3 and 18 months - have also been affected, Sherry Phillips said.

People drive by their apartment and just stare at them, she said.

The Islander spearheaded a drive that raised more than $5,000 in cash and an estimated $5,000 in clothes, toys, household goods and appliances to help the beleaguered family.

Roger Phillips said he was considering hiring a lawyer for possible legal action against The Islander for reporting the arrests.

However, donations continued to pour in to The Islander for the family last week, including cash, clothing and toys.

Mother is 'thankful' for Island, Islanders

Shirley Phillips of Plant City said she burst into tears last Wednesday when she learned that her son, Roger Phillips, had been arrested Feb. 22 in Bradenton Beach on an outstanding warrant in Marion County issued four years ago.

"He's a good person. He's really been getting his life together, and moving to Anna Maria Island was just great for him and the kids," said Mrs. Phillips. "I just want the Island and the Islanders to know how much he appreciates everything they've done for him after the fire."

Roger Phillips, wife Sherry and their four children, were left homeless in Bradenton Beach following a Feb. 10 apartment fire on Avenue C.

But the Island community and the American Red Cross responded to keep Roger and his family on the Island.

The Islander newspaper sponsored donations and contributions from readers, and the West Manatee Fire and Rescue firefighters gave $1,550 of their own money to the family.

One week after the fire, the family had more than $5,000 in cash in addition to large quantities of clothes, toys, appliances, furnishings and other household goods. They were able to move into a semi-furnished apartment in Bradenton Beach on Feb. 16, thanks largely to the generosity of the Island.

The outstanding warrant was for failure to pay a traffic ticket in Ocala, she said. "That was Roger's fault and he should have taken care of that.

"He's not a bad person. It's going to look bad for the kids because they're still in school there, but Roger and the kids think Anna Maria Island is just a great place to live. This is over something that happened four years ago."

She said Roger has been working as a chef for the past few years and has really turned his life around.

"I really appreciate everything Islanders did for them, especially the kids," said the distraught Phillips.