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Ex-Tarpon officer dies in apparent jail suicide

TBO.com staff
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A former police officer was found dead of an apparent suicide in his jail cell early Thursday, hours after being convicted of rape, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said.

Detention deputies checking on 38-year-old Larry Kobielnik found him hanging in his one-person cell in the maximum security section of the jail, the sheriff’s office.

Medical staff and paramedics were called, but efforts to revive him were unsuccessful, the sheriff’s office said. Kobielnik was pronounced dead at 3:31 a.m. at the jail.

Kobielnik was due in court Thursday for sentencing after being found guilty Wednesday of sexual battery and impersonating an officer, the sheriff’s office said.

Kobielnik, a former Tarpon Springs police officer and Transportation Security Administration agent, had been arrested in the July 2013 abduction of a 30-year-old woman.

According to investigators, Kobielnik drove toward the woman and offered her a ride, and she entered the vehicle. She asked him to let her out a few blocks later, but he showed a gun and badge, told her she was under arrest and placed her in handcuffs, investigators said.

He took the woman to his home in Dunedin and sexually battered her, but she escaped when he fell asleep, investigators said.

Kobielnik’s death is under investigation by sheriff’s office homicide detectives and the Administrative Investigation Division.

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