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Immigrant pleads guilty in robberies
The crimes occurred at gas stations around East Tampa. He faces prison and deportation.
By KEVIN GRAHAM, Times Staff Writer
Published December 22, 2007
TAMPA - An illegal immigrant faces at least 32 years in prison and deportation after pleading guilty Friday to robbing gas stations in and around East Tampa at gunpoint.
Jamaro J. Ritchie, 22, of 3808 Phillips St., Tampa, was also being investigated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents on suspicion of marriage fraud, court records show.
Ritchie, who goes by other names including Dwayne Alvest Brown, pleaded guilty to robbing a Gas Kwik at 2505 N 50th St. on Dec. 27 and a BP gas station at 6605 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. on Dec. 29.
Federal court records also allege that Ritchie robbed a Shell gas station at 2924 N 50th St. on April 25. A grand jury didn't indict him in that case, but federal agents included it in the court record.
Agents said Ritchie was a regular at the Shell gas station and showed up about 4:30 a.m. the day of the robbery. The clerk let Ritchie in, recognizing him, and Ritchie asked for some Goody's powdered headache medicine.
Agents said Ritchie then pulled out a gun and demanded money. He got away with nearly $700 in that theft, kicking the glass door as he left, they said.
Tampa police used surveillance footage to get a description of the robber. They then matched the shoe print to prints found inside the store and followed those prints to the nearby USA Inn motel at 2905 N 50th St.
A motel employee recognized the robber's description and pointed officers to Ritchie's room. They found a pair of Air Jordan shoes inside. The sole of the shoes matched the prints taken at the Shell station.
"I don't think there's any question I'm going to put you in prison for a while," U.S. District Judge Richard A. Lazzara told Ritchie during the hearing.
A plea agreement was filed before Ritchie entered the guilty plea in open court. The judge also ordered that he pay $1,772 in restitution and told him that he can expect to be deported to Jamaica, where he has citizenship.
Lazzara set Ritchie's sentencing date for March 7.
Times researcher Angie Drobnic Holan contributed to this story. Kevin Graham can be reached at email@example.com or 813 226-3433.