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Dingfelder in thrift during heist

The council member doesn't notice the drunken robber until the tellers yell.

Published January 25, 2007


TAMPA - When an intoxicated man robbed a South Tampa credit union Wednesday, one of the city's top leaders was inside.

City Council member John Dingfelder said he was standing near the door of the Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union, 2502 Manhattan Ave., shortly after 4 p.m. when he saw a man leave out of the corner of his eye and was startled to hear the tellers yell.

"Lock the door! Lock the door!" they shouted.

According to Tampa police, the robber showed a small handgun to the teller, demanded money and ran away, jumping over a fence along the way.

Dingfelder said within two to three minutes, police were on scene searching for the man. And within five, they were inside, questioning witnesses.

"Once I realized what happened, it was a little scary," Dingfelder said.

The South Tampa councilman was conducting personal business and didn't get a clear look at the robber. He said the experience made him reflect on what a risk tellers place themselves in.

Police described the robber as 5 feet 4, in his 40s or 50s, with brown hair and missing two front teeth. He was wearing an orange jacket and appeared to be intoxicated. Anyone with information is asked to call the Tampa police at (813) 231-6130.

[Last modified January 25, 2007, 00:46:26]

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