Friday, December 15, 2017
News Roundup

Tampa 'bandit' gets 193 years for fast-food chain robberies

TAMPA — A man nicknamed the "Shattered Window Bandit" was sentenced this week to 193 years in federal prison for the 2012 robberies of fast-food chains around the Tampa Bay area.

Demetrius Renaldo Bowers, 29, of Tampa was accused of eight robberies at fast-food restaurants, including a Papa John's Pizza, Pizza Hut and Domino's Pizza in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Hernando counties, from Sept. 23 to Nov. 4, 2012.

A federal jury found Bowers guilty June 26 of 16 robbery and gun offenses. He was sentenced Monday by U.S. District Judge Mary S. Scriven.

The case was prosecuted in federal court in part because of the places he picked to rob — franchise restaurants that get many of their supplies from other states. Federal prosecutors made the case that he interfered with interstate commerce by robbing the franchises.

Bowers used concrete blocks to smash the stores' windows and held employees at gunpoint, an agent with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said in a criminal complaint.

Bowers' attorney, Bjorn Brunvand, could not be reached for comment late Tuesday.

Bowers was arrested in 2012 after a Florida Department of Law Enforcement and ATF investigation first identified him after a Sept. 23 robbery of a Papa John's Pizza in Tampa.

Investigators found a black ski mask about 175 yards from the scene. FDLE analysts found a DNA sample on the mask that matched Bowers, who has pervious convictions, including aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and burglary, according to the criminal complaint.

Investigators also checked with a bill payment service used by Bowers to link him to a cellphone registered under what they said was a fake name, "Young Strizzle."

Using communications tower hits, investigators linked Bowers' cellphone to the area of some of the crime scenes around the times they were committed. Tower hit data showed Bowers traveling across Tampa Bay to the Largo-Clearwater area a few hours before the robbery of a Pizza Hut in Largo. Data showed he then traveled back to Tampa about 10 minutes after the robbery, according to the criminal complaint.

Investigators found similar data linking him to the area around robberies at two other Pizza Hut locations in Tampa and Lutz, a Domino's Pizza in Spring Hill and a Wendy's restaurant in Tampa.

Times researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Keeley Sheehan can be reached at [email protected]

Comments

HomeTeam Hot Shots: Male nominations for Dec. 9-15

Each week, our HomeTeam staffers nominate male Hot Shots from each of the counties we cover. Then we turn the voting over to readers. These nominations span Saturday, Dec. 9-Friday, Dec. 15. Read up on all of our nominees then vote until noon Monday....
Updated: 21 minutes ago
Deputies: Plant City men fled in stolen car, shot dog, hid in swamp

Deputies: Plant City men fled in stolen car, shot dog, hid in swamp

DOVER — Two Plant City men who ran from deputies and shot a dog were captured after a brief pursuit Thursday, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.They ditched the stolen car, ran away on foot, crossed through several yards and then ...
Updated: 23 minutes ago

HomeTeam Hot Shots: Female nominations for Dec. 9-15

Each week, our HomeTeam staffers nominate female Hot Shots from each of the counties we cover. Then we turn the voting over to readers. These nominations span Saturday, Dec. 9-Friday, Dec. 15. Read up on all of our nominees then vote until noon Monda...
Updated: 30 minutes ago
Experts chart path for Hillsborough to grow smarter before sprawl takes over

Experts chart path for Hillsborough to grow smarter before sprawl takes over

TAMPA — Nearly 600,000 more people will live in Hillsborough County by 2040, and if elected officials and county planners don’t take bold steps now the population boom will turn the county into the soulless sprawl of Anywhere, U.S.A..That’s the messa...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Updated: 1 hour ago
Fueled by indulgence and machismo, restaurants are a hotbed for sexual harassment

Fueled by indulgence and machismo, restaurants are a hotbed for sexual harassment

When Brenda Terry was 16 and living in St. Louis, she was a hostess and food runner at a sports bar where female employees wore cute, little cheerleading skirts. One night, she said, a patron grabbed her crotch. She ran to her management team and the...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Festivus 2017: Submit your grievances and complaints here

Festivus 2017: Submit your grievances and complaints here

Here's your chance. Tell us what annoyed you in 2017, and we'll share it with our readers.
Updated: 2 hours ago
After third fire at former Ybor City bathhouse, arrest is made

After third fire at former Ybor City bathhouse, arrest is made

TAMPA — A 46-year-old man was arrested Friday and accused of setting fire to a vacant Ybor City bathhouse hit by arson at least two other times earlier this year.Two Tampa police officers spotted smoke from the vacant building at 1512 E Eighth Ave. a...
Updated: 2 hours ago

FHP: Overturned pick-up slowed traffic on northbound Howard Frankland

ST. PETERSBURG — A pick-up truck towing a car onto the northbound Howard Frankland Bridge overturned and crashed on the shoulder, causing back-ups for motorists trying to get to Tampa, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.The incident was reported...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Editorial: Warren’s smart approach on guns, domestic violence

Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren would make it safer for victims and police alike with his plan to remove firearms from defendants charged with domestic violence. These cases are toxic enough, and having guns at the ready only adds to a dang...
Updated: 2 hours ago