Pinellas deputies: Former police officer kidnaps, batters woman
A former Transportation Security Administration employee and Tarpon Springs police officer faces charges of kidnapping and sexual battery after deputies say he abducted a woman early Friday morning after offering her a ride while she was walking along a Clearwater street. Deputies say Larry Kobielnik, 37, of Dunedin approached the unidentified 30-year-old woman around 2:30 a.m. as he was driving in the area of Gulf to Bay Boulevard and Highlands Avenue. Kobielnik asked the woman if she needed a ride and she complied, deputies say, but asked him to stop a few blocks later. Kobielnik then showed the woman a handgun and police badge and stated she was under arrest, deputies say.He then continued driving to a house in Dunedin, where deputies say he sexually battered the woman. The woman escaped several hours later after Kobielnik fell asleep and provided detectives with his vehicle's tag number, deputies say. Detectives interviewed Kobielnik, who denied the accusations. He is charged with kidnapping and sexual battery. The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office confirmed to WFLA-TV that Kobielnik was formerly employed by the Tarpon Springs Police Department and had left to work for the TSA. TSA sources told the TV station Saturday that Kobielnik, whose main responsibility was inspecting checked baggage, is no longer employed by the agency. "TSA holds its employees to the highest standards of conduct. This alleged violent crime is egregious and intolerable. TSA is cooperating fully with investigating authorities," the source said.