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Three men charged in armed carjacking

A KFC worker says he was carjacked at gunpoint after he drove a co-worker home from St. Petersburg to Palm Harbor.

By NORA KOCH
Published May 26, 2004

PALM HARBOR - Three St. Petersburg men were in jail Tuesday after an armed carjacking the night before that led deputies on a chase and ended in a three-car accident on Tampa Road, authorities said.

After an evening shift at a KFC in St. Petersburg, Altin Koci, 19, was dropping off a co-worker in Palm Harbor, he said Tuesday.

When Koci pulled over at his destination on Eagle Cove East Drive, a brown Chevrolet Malibu following him also stopped. A man got out of the car and showed a gun, Koci said.

"They told us to get the h--- out of the car right now," Koci said. "We got on the ground, because that's what they said, and they took off."

Koci said he called 911 from his co-worker's cell phone as soon as the two cars left. Pinellas County sheriff's deputies responded about 11:30 p.m., said spokesman Mac McMullen.

Before deputies arrived, two officers spotted the Malibu and Koci's 1991 blue Chevrolet Caprice near U.S. 19 and Tarpon Avenue.

Anthony X. Hanson, 20, and Douglas M. Rogers Jr., 19, were in the Malibu and were apprehended by deputies in the drive-through line at a Taco Bell.

Meanwhile, deputies chased Julius L. Wynn, 21, in Koci's car for 10 minutes after he ignored the first attempted traffic stop, authorities said. He was traveling south on U.S. 19 at speeds as high as 100 mph, according to his arrest affidavit, and ran at least two red lights.

He turned on Tampa Road where he encountered another deputy who was setting up a trap to stop the car. Wynn swerved when he saw the officer, causing an accident at West Lake Road.

The Caprice hit a pickup truck driven by Christopher D. Taylor of New Port Richey, causing $8,000 in damage to the truck, McMullen said. A rear tire from the truck came off and hit a Mercedes driven by Constantina Pappas, whose car sustained $1,000 in damage. Pappas and Taylor were not injured, McMullen said.

Koci said his car was also totaled in the accident.

Wynn was taken to Mease Countryside Hospital where he was treated for minor injuries, McMullen said. He was released to deputies later that morning.

Wynn, of 5540 21st Way S, is charged with a carjacking robbery with a firearm, fleeing and eluding and driving with a suspended license. He was held in Pinellas County Jail Tuesday night in lieu of $60,500 bail.

Hanson, of 2056 62nd Ave. S, was charged with carjacking with a firearm and armed robbery with a firearm, and was held in lieu of $100,000 bail. Rogers, of 6897 17th St. S, is charged with carjacking robbery with a firearm, and was held in lieu of $50,000 bail.

For his part, Koci was supposed to work at the chicken restaurant Tuesday, but took the day off so he could handle the night's repercussions.

Koci said he wasn't sure, but he thinks he might have been acquainted with the men who robbed him.

"I thought it was some kind of joke that my friends were playing on me," said Koci, who came here from Albania seven years ago. "But no ..."

- Times researcher Jenny Lichtenwalner contributed to this report. Nora Koch can be reached at 727 771-4304 or nkoch@sptimes.com

[Last modified May 26, 2004, 01:00:46]


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