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Bold bank robber returns to rob again

The man has robbed seven banks, and he returned Thursday to two he has hit before.

By BABITA PERSAUD, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published May 3, 2002

TAMPA -- When the man in the baseball cap walked into the Bank of America and later the First Union on Thursday, employees immediately recognized him.

He had robbed them before.

And like before, he got away.

It was the seventh bank robbery by the same brazen cap-wearing bandit in the past five weeks. He seems to specializes in banks near busy West Shore and Kennedy boulevards, including the two hit Thursday.

On April 9, it was First Union. On April 15, it was Bank of America.

"He's working the West Shore corridor," said Tampa police Sgt. Doug Cook.

The robber walked into the lobby of Bank of America, 100 West Shore Blvd., at about noon Thursday and was recognized. As usual, he said that he had a gun, but this time, he did not get any money.

So the robber dashed across the street to the First Union at 4950 W Kennedy Blvd. There, he succeeded, escaping on foot.

A First Union security guard chased him into the parking lot of the Urban Centre nearby, which houses the Wyndham Hotel and Shula's Steakhouse, among other businesses. But the armed guard lost sight of him. So did a Tampa police officer who was on her break at nearby JCPenney.

A canine unit was called out. The parking garage was barricaded for two hours.

"We thought we had him over at the garage," said Cook.

But the garage has many exits and entrances, and the center was not evacuated. Workers on cigarette breaks walked in and out. Hotel guests walked in and out, many asking the officers, "What's all the commotion?"

The robber is described as a black man, 5 feet 7, 150 to 170 pounds and 30 to 40 years old.

He always wears a dark baseball cap and leans forward so that the overhead cameras don't get his face.

Thursday, he wore a white, long-sleeved shirt buttoned up and dark pants.

"We want to catch him," said Cook.

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