TAMPA — After a 14-month hiatus, the "Seffner Bandit" is back.
Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay is offering a $6,000 reward for information on the elusive robber believed to have hit 19 stores owned by people of Middle Eastern and Indian descent. There are no good surveillance photos of his face — he covers himself with a hooded sweatshirt and ski mask. He leaves no physical evidence because he wears gloves.
Investigators have his build — 220 to 260 pounds, and 5-foot-9 to 6-foot-2 — and his voice on surveillance video to go on.
"It's extremely frustrating," said Sgt. Mike Hurley of the Plant City Police Department. "It's frustrating when someone gets away with two of these, let alone this many."
Most of the robberies took place in Seffner, Dover and Plant City, said Hillsborough County sheriff's Maj. Donna Lusczynski.
They began in January 2010 at the Chevron station at 7401 E Broadway Ave. in Tampa. Since then, he has robbed 15 stores in 19 attempts, Hurley said.
For a while, investigators thought the bandit was gone — the robberies stopped in July 2010. The first in 2011 happened at the S&J Chevron at 930 W U.S. 92 in Seffner on Sept. 25. The latest was the Walden Lake Food Mart at 2710 Turkey Creek Road in Plant City on Oct. 18.
"It's our belief that he's talking to someone about these crimes," Lusczynski said. "We obviously want to get to him before he hurts anyone."
Anyone with information about the case can contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-8477 to be eligible for the reward, or the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office at (813) 247-8200.