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Man pleads guilty to robbing bay area banks

TAMPA — A 23-year-old Brandon man pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to robbing three bay area banks.

Kenneth Lee McFann faces up to 60 years in federal prison when he is sentenced before U.S. District Judge James S. Moody Jr. on June 18.

McFann has been in custody since an arrest in August at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Broward County. Authorities charged him at the time with robbing a GTE Federal Credit Union at 10848 State Road 54 in New Port Richey on Aug. 1. According to a plea agreement, McFann walked up to a bank teller and opened a day planner with a knife and a demand note. He got away with $3,171, court records show.

Federal prosecutors said that on April 20, McFann robbed a SunTrust Bank at 34511 State Road 54 in Zephyrhills. He threatened to slit the teller's throat if she didn't give him $5,000, according to a plea agreement.

In court Thursday, McFann said he never threatened to slit the woman's throat, but he did admit to using a knife in the robbery. Court records show that the teller gave him $5,155.

An indictment had also charged McFann with carjacking a woman at knifepoint on April 19 at a Brandon Publix on Causeway Boulevard. That offense was not part of his plea agreement.

In the third bank robbery contained in the plea agreement, prosecutors said McFann robbed a Superior Bank at 1932 Bruce B. Downs Blvd. in Wesley Chapel on May 17. Investigators said he once again used a day planner with a knife inside and a demand note. He walked out with $1,897.

He has agreed to pay restitution.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office also suspects McFann robbed a SunTrust Bank at 11015 Causeway Blvd. in Brandon on May 8 and a Fifth Third Bank at 1710 Dr. Martin Luther King Blvd. in Seffner on June 13. The federal plea agreement contained no information on that investigation.

In 2006, McFann and two other men were accused of stealing $220,000 worth of prescription painkillers from the Drug Shoppe on Armenia Avenue in Tampa. McFann and his buddies spent three weeks on the lam before authorities found them holed up at a high school friend's home in Lee County and arrested them.

Kevin Graham can be reached at kgraham@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3433.

Man pleads guilty to robbing bay area banks 04/03/08 [Last modified: Monday, April 7, 2008 5:01pm]
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