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Robbery suspect found guilty
By CHRISTOPHER GOFFARD
© St. Petersburg Times, published June 15, 2000
NEW PORT RICHEY -- It took a lucky break and a special tri-county task force to catch Carl Thomas Petz, a suspected serial robber, two years ago. It took a jury less than an hour Wednesday to convict him.
Petz, 40, of Hudson was found guilty of robbing the Dollar General Store with a firearm in May 1998, a charge that, with his criminal record, could bring him life imprisonment when Circuit Judge Craig Villanti sentences him next month.
Petz still is facing four other Pasco charges in connection with a string of armed robberies in April and March 1998. The targets were the Farm Store in Holiday, the Bakery Outlet in Port Richey and South Beach Tanning and Majik Touch Cleaners in New Port Richey.
Police call him a suspect in at least 17 robberies in Pasco, Pinellas and Hernando counties, though he has not been charged with all of them. Police say the robberies came to an end when, during his holdup of the Dollar General Store on State Road 52, a witness recognized him as a man whose nickname was "Crazy Carl."
That led law officers from the three counties to Petz, who was initially arrested on outstanding warrants for violating his probation and aggravated stalking. He was then linked to the robberies. Detectives found a pellet gun in his possession.
"It was good fortune on our part that this lady who knew him happened to be there," said Assistant State Attorney Scott Andringa, who prosecuted the case. "There was a lot of hard work (from investigators), and that hard work in combination with some good luck brought us a conviction."
Going back to the early 1980s, Petz has previous convictions on vehicle theft, dealing in stolen property and fraud. His lawyer, Keith Hammond, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
-- Christopher Goffard covers courts in west Pasco County. He can be reached in west Pasco at 869-6236 or (800) 333-7505, ext. 6236. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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