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Date of Issue: April 24, 2008

Ex-city commissioner beaten, robbed at Anna Maria home

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Linda Cramer

If you think it can’t happen here, it can.

Former Anna Maria City Commissioner Linda Cramer was beaten and robbed shortly after 4 p.m. April 17 by two unidentified men at the home she resides in on Crescent Drive, across from the Anna Maria Island Community Center.

According to the Manatee County’s Sheriff’s Office report, Cramer got a call around 4 p.m. from someone asking for her boyfriend, Joe Pandolph, the home’s owner. Cramer told the caller Pandolph wasn’t home. About 15 minutes later, two men posing as deliverymen rang the doorbell.

The men told Cramer they had a package delivery from a cosmetic company. Cramer opened the door and the two suspects forced their way in as Cramer attempted to resist. They then began to punch her, threw her to the tile floor and proceeded to tie her up using plastic rip-ties similar to what law enforcement uses for handcuffs. The two suspects beat her about the face while she laid on the floor, causing swelling and bruising all over face and other injuries.

After Cramer was subdued and tied up, the two men reportedly ransacked the house, demanding to know where guns, gold, money and drugs were kept.

Cramer replied that there wasn’t anything like that in the house. After about 10 minutes, the two suspects told Cramer that if she called police after they left, they would come back and kill her and her family.

The two suspects then fled with an undisclosed amount of cash, two handguns and jewelry along with Cramer’s identification and credit cards. A bottle containing medication Cramer takes for kidney disease was left untouched.

After the suspects departed, Cramer said she managed to hobble to the kitchen where she freed herself with a knife and called Pandolph, who called 911, while Cramer then called the cell phone of Anna Maria MSCO Sgt. John Kenney.

Cramer refused to be taken by ambulance to the hospital, but was later transported to Blake Medical Center by MCSO detectives. She suffered two black eyes, a swollen lip and multiple abrasions to her face and head. She was badly bruised, but she was treated and a CT scan did not reveal any internal injuries and she was released that day.

The suspects were described as two white males, one about 6 feet tall, slim with brown hair and wearing sunglasses, while the other was described as about 5 feet, 7 inches tall, short and stocky, wearing sunglasses and possibly named Mike. According to the report, the men were driving a white, older model delivery van with sponge dice tied to the front mirror.

Cramer said she thought something was suspicious about the two men when they rang the doorbell and that she wasn’t going to open the door, but relented whey they said they had a delivery.

“I started to fight back, but it was two against one. They got in 15 to 20 punches to my face, tied me up and put a blanket over my head. I asked them not to take my medicine and they didn’t, but they wanted drugs, money, gold and jewelry,” she said.

Cramer said the men were inside the house not more than 10 minutes before leaving.

“I got free and called the police and they arrived almost immediately, but the two men were gone,” Cramer said.

“I should have known something was funny because of the call I got about 10 minutes before they arrived,” she said. “Thankfully, I wasn’t hurt more than I was, but this can happen to anyone, even here in Anna Maria.

“People here are not used to this sort of thing. Be aware of what you’re doing,” she cautioned.

“It’s obvious I was targeted and someone else could just as easily be targeted next. These men acted deliberately and they had an elaborate plan to get Joe away from the house before they arrived.”

Pandolph’s granddaughter also lives with him, but she was safe at the Center’s after-school program at the time of the break in.

Kenney agreed, saying “This was not a random act. It was planned out and [Cramer and Pandolph] were the specific targets.”

He added that in his six years as the officer in charge of the MCSO’s Anna Maria substation, this was his first home invasion and robbery report.

Investigation of the incident has been turned over to the MCSO’s detective division, but Kenney says he will go Monday to his supervisor and ask to stay on the case. “I’m going to stay on this every day,” he said. “We’re on it.”

Anyone with information on the incident, or who may have seen a white van on Crescent Drive around 4 p.m. on April 17, is asked to call Detective Norbett Whorley of the MCSO at 747-3011, ext. 2597, or the Anna Maria substation at 708-8899.

Callers can remain anonymous and all information is kept confidential.