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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
TAMPA -- The man who robbed a Brink's armored truck Tuesday and led nearly 50 police cars on a two-county chase has been identified as Michael Wesley Simpson, an unemployed security worker from Safety Harbor.
Simpson, 43, killed himself with one shot to the head from a 40-caliber pistol after his blue Hyundai Sante Fe ran out of gas at a Hudson gas station, Pasco sheriff's officials said.
A witness to the robbery tracked Simpson in his car from the holdup scene outside the Wal-Mart at Waters Avenue and Hanley Road until deputies and police took up the pursuit.
Court records show a mortgage company moved to foreclose on his home two months ago.
He hadn't made a payment since November 2006, records showed. He owed $42,280 on 41 Bishop Creek Drive.
A Tampa law firm representing Deutsche Bank National Trust Co. gave him 30 days to respond to foreclosure in an April 3 letter. He responded on April 30, saying his house was for sale.
Several weeks ago, neighbors said, a for-sale sign appeared on his home. The Pinellas County property appraiser listed its market value as $236,600 in 2006. He bought it for $203,000 in November 2004, borrowing $41,000 from the bank.
Simpson had told the court that he would file for bankruptcy, as a last resort. No records could be found showing he did.
Simpson kept to himself, said neighbors, who saw him driving a Hummer.
Simpson had no criminal record, state arrest records show.
He joined the Army in 1983 and served 10 years, rising to staff sergeant and working as a mechanic.
Divorced in 2000, he had one son, records show. His ex-wife couldn't be reached Wednesday.
Times staff writer Jose Cardenas and researcher John Martin contributed to this report.