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Bottled Water Bandit suspect arrested

A deputy notices a vehicle captured on video, then finds telltale clues inside. The driver faces charges in several robberies.

By EMILY VASQUEZ
Published July 1, 2005


NEW PORT RICHEY - Police have captured a 32-year-old man suspected of being the Bottled Water Bandit.

However, it wasn't a beverage container that tipped them off but a green SUV matching the description of the one used in the robberies of four drugstores and a bank. And a Tampa Bay Buccaneers jersey.

New Port Richey police said Michael Anthony Goad of 6912 Betty Lou Court admitted to most of the robberies, explaining that he committed them to support a crack cocaine habit.

At about 5:45 p.m. Wednesday, Cpl. Matt Berry spotted a green Ford Explorer on U.S 19 that matched the description of the vehicle captured on security cameras during a robbery at a CVS pharmacy in Holiday. Berry approached the driver when he stopped at a Sunoco station at 5316 U.S. 19.

Police said once they stopped Goad, who was wearing a Devil Rays jersey, he was an easy match to the sports-jersey-clad suspect pictured in surveillance photos from several robberies.

Police saw draped on the back seat of the Explorer a "Keyshawn Johnson" Buccaneers jersey - which matched one the bandit had worn during one of the robberies.

Telltale red ink stains, police said, likely from a bank-robbery dye pack, also were visible on the seats and back-seat carpeting of the vehicle.

Pasco County sheriff's deputies said they are questioning Goad about the robbery of the Wachovia bank at 5136 Little Road on Tuesday and the robbery of three Pasco drugstores.

As of Thursday morning, Gould was being held without bail on charges in the armed robbery of the Walgreens store at 6302 U.S. 19 on Sunday and on an active Pasco warrant for petit theft and on two active warrants out of Tennessee in armed robbery cases. He is considered a fugitive from justice because of those Tennessee charges.

Pinellas County deputies also plan to question Goad about a June 6 robbery of a Palm Harbor Walgreens.

Goad's employer of more than a year, Blaise Collura of Eastern Ribbon and Roll in Odessa, said Goad left his key in his office door and didn't come back to the business last Friday.

That day, the company had requested that employees in the receiving department where Goad worked turn in their driver's licenses for routine background checks.

"We gave him a warning about a week ago after he came back from lunch and appeared to be on something," Collura said Thursday. "We told him whatever it is you're doing, it needs to stop."