TAMPA — A Tampa man is suspected of robbing or trying to rob five customers at ATMs over the Labor Day weekend. Each of the robberies occurred within a small area — so small that deputies arrested the man across the street from the site of one of the alleged robberies.
Hillsborough County sheriff's deputies arrested Charles Griffin, 34, Tuesday at a RaceTrac gas station, 205 E Bearss Ave., on one count of armed robbery. Deputies said they matched him and his Dodge SUV to surveillance footage of a robbery that happened at 1:35 p.m. Monday at a Bank of America branch at 250 E Bearss Ave.
Deputies said Griffin robbed another customer at the same Bank of America at 2 a.m. Tuesday. They say he also committed armed robbery Sunday night at Chase Bank, 2802 E Fletcher Ave.
He has not yet been charged with two ATM robberies that happened Monday at Wells Fargo Bank, 12233 N Florida Ave., but sheriff's Cpl. Bruce Metzger said he is "extremely confident" Griffin is the perpetrator.
Metzger said Griffin was not combative during his arrest and later told police that he had a drug problem.
"Some information he disclosed to our detectives was that he's battling drug issues, he's desperate for cash for his drug addiction," Metzger said Wednesday afternoon at a news conference.
Metzger said the robbery Monday afternoon was not typical of ATM robberies.
"It's surprising to see one in broad daylight," he said.
At the news conference, Metzger doled out safety tips to consumers who use ATMs. He suggested using indoor ATMs during business hours or getting cash back when purchasing items instead of going to an ATM. People who use an ATM after hours should find one in a well-lit location and look for suspicious people or vehicles before approaching the machine.
Griffin was being held in the Hillsborough County jail Wednesday night without bond. People who have information about Griffin or think he robbed them can reach Metzger at (813) 247-0623.