BROOKSVILLE — The evidence against Timothy Tad Smith seemed airtight. Still, Smith wanted to go to trial to fight a charge stemming from the 2011 robbery of the Weeki Wachee branch of Bank of America.
On Wednesday evening, a Hernando County jury convicted the 40-year-old transient of strong-arm robbery. Jurors deliberated for about two hours before returning the guilty verdict.
During the two-day trial, prosecutor Jason Smith presented more than two dozen pieces of evidence to prove that Timothy Smith entered the Bank of America office at State Road 50 and U.S. 19 on the afternoon of Dec. 27, 2011, and passed a note to a teller demanding money. Smith, who was not armed, fled on a bicycle with more than $16,000 in cash.
When deputies were shown a photo of the robbery suspect, Deputy Christopher Calderon recognized Smith. Investigators determined that Smith might still be in the county, driving a silver Ford van.
The evening after the robbery, deputies found him sleeping in the van at the Walmart on Cortez Boulevard in Spring Hill.
Deputies found $11,160 in cash in the van. Investigators also found a bank strap used to wrap bills and a note that a teller would later identify as the one he passed to her that day.
Smith was wearing a hat and sunglasses during the robbery, caught by surveillance cameras. Jurors viewed the footage.
He declined an offer from the State Attorney's Office that would have had him serve eight years in state prison. At one point before the trial, Smith told Circuit Judge Daniel B. Merritt Jr. he wanted to stand trial because of "personal reasons," Jason Smith said.
Timothy Smith's public defender, Barbara-Jo Bell, declined to comment, saying Smith asked her not to speak to the media.
He now faces up to 15 years in prison. A sentencing hearing is set for March 14.
Records show Smith has been arrested at least four times in Florida, with convictions on charges of misdemeanor drug possession and fleeing to elude police.
He was released from federal prison in 2010 after serving nine months for possessing combat rifles that were not registered to him, records show.
News researcher Natalie Watson contributed to this report. Tony Marrero can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 848-1431. On Twitter: @HernandoTimes.