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Fugitive caught trying to do good

A fleeing fugitive escapes two detectives, but they catch him later as he attempts a noble deed.

By ANGELA MOORE

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 6, 2001


TAMPA -- After successfully eluding officers trying to arrest him, Tony Musmian tried to be a good Samaritan and flag down a car going the wrong way on a one-way street.

Inside the unmarked car? Two detectives who had tried to handcuff Musmian minutes earlier.

Oops.

Hillsborough sheriff's spokesman Lt. Rod Reder gave the following account:

Detectives Mark Leonard and Jerry Schmidt, working for the Tampa Bay Fugitive Task Force, had come to the Robles Park neighborhood to arrest Musmian, 24, on a warrant charging him with violating probation. When Musmian was 18, he was charged with three counts of armed robbery, armed kidnapping and grand theft. He has been on probation since then.

Leonard and Schmidt approached Musmian about 8 a.m. Thursday and asked whether his name was Tony Musmian. He responded that his name was Jack Daniels.

The detectives suspected that he was not named after a brand of whiskey, especially since the suspect matched a picture they had of Tony Musmian.

They moved to handcuff him, but he broke free and ran four blocks south on Avon Avenue. Then he stopped, knocked a boy off a bicycle and rode it four blocks south to an apartment complex on Ohio Avenue. Musmian ran inside one of the apartments, startling its two occupants, who didn't know him, officials said.

After hiding out for a few minutes, Musmian walked back outside, where he saw a car going the wrong way down Ohio, a one-way street, and flagged it down to warn the driver. Leonard and Schmidt arrested him.

In addition to violation of probation for the old charges, Musmian was charged with escape and burglary of an occupied residence. He was being held in jail Thursday without bail.

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