Sunday, January 21, 2018
Public safety

Clearwater police identify knife-brandishing robbery suspect

CLEARWATER — Police have identified an armed robbery suspect who was arrested Wednesday after he crashed his car while fleeing from officers.

Willie D. Collins, 48, faces two counts of armed robbery and one count of fleeing and eluding, Clearwater police said.

Collins, of 1504 N Osceola Ave. in Clearwater, remained at Bayfront Health St. Petersburg, where he is being treated for non-life threatening injuries that he sustained during the crash.

He is accused of robbing a Dollar General in Clearwater on Sunday while brandishing a large machete and then cutting a clerk's hand with a knife during another holdup at a Family Dollar on Tuesday.

Collins is also a suspect in the robberies of a CVS and a Lowe's on Ulmerton Road in Largo on Wednesday shortly before his arrest, police said. The robber was armed with a knife in both those incidents.

About 4 p.m. Wednesday, Clearwater police tried to stop Collins, who was driving a Dodge pickup truck, near Highland Avenue. But he sped away, crashed and flipped the truck near the intersection of Palmetto Street and Macrae Avenue.

After his arrest, police found a machete, knife and two shirts they believe he wore during the robberies inside the truck.

Collins will be booked into the Pinellas County jail once he is released from the hospital.

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