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

Demetrius Renaldo Bowers, 29, robbed eight fast-food chains from Sept. 23 to Nov. 4, 2012.

Demetrius Renaldo Bowers, 29, robbed eight fast-food chains from Sept. 23 to Nov. 4, 2012.

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 ksheehan@tampabay.com.

Tampa 'bandit' gets 193 years for fast-food chain robberies 04/01/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 1, 2014 11:43pm]
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