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Gun-toting robber hits 4 in early morning

He approaches them in the street and demands cash. He gets money in only one incident.

By Times Staff Writer
Published November 18, 2005

TAMPA - An armed robber tried to hold up four people, including three who were delivering newspapers, within the span of a few minutes in south Tampa early Thursday, police reported.

Investigators continue to look for the robber, described by all four victims as a Hispanic man in his late 20s with facial hair, a shaved head, wearing a white shirt and waving a small-caliber handgun.

The incidents happened between 5:30 a.m. and 5:50 a.m.

Tampa Tribune deliveryman Robert Edward Drake was sitting in his vehicle at 3922 W Tacon St. when the man pulled up in a small, tan, four-door vehicle and asked for directions. He pointed a handgun at Drake and demanded money, but Drake drove off, a police report said.

David and Dawn Coffran were in their car at S Church Avenue and W San Luis Street, delivering copies of the St. Petersburg Times, when he pulled up near their car a short time later. He got out, walked up pointing the gun and demanded cash, police reported. He took off before he got any money.

A few minutes later, a man of the same description pulled up to Christopher Ashford-Smith at W San Carlos Street and S Clark Avenue asking for directions. As Ashford-Smith responded, the man walked up and pressed a gun to his head and demanded his wallet. Ashford-Smith complied, and the robber told him to drive away, police reported.

Anyone with information is asked to call Tampa police at (813) 276-3200.

[Last modified November 18, 2005, 01:27:15]

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