Friday, December 15, 2017
Public safety

Friends sit in jail while Pasco deputies look for robbery suspect

HUDSON — This week, two suspects in two different crimes told deputies their accomplice was the same man. Deputies say they have a couple leads on the bandit, but he's still on the run.

Over the weekend, authorities say, James Lee Borges, 51, hid in a Kmart on U.S. 19 in Hudson until after the store closed. Another man, Claude Jay Swick, 45, pulled up with a U-Haul trailer at 1:30 Sunday morning and the two loaded the loot, $6,100 worth, a Pasco County Sheriff's Office report states.

A quarter of a mile up Beacon Woods Drive, authorities say, Swick drove too fast and flipped the U-Haul. He tried to run, the report states, but was nabbed by a police dog. He was arrested on a charge of burglary and remains at the Land O'Lakes jail in lieu of $2,500 bail.

Borges slipped into the night. The next day, deputies said, he struck again.

Borges walked into the Bank of America in Hudson around 3 p.m. Monday, pointed a gun at a teller and dashed out with an undisclosed amount of cash, a sheriff's report states.

Amanda Margaret Vaughn, 28, told deputies she drove the getaway car for Borges. According to the report, Vaughn said she took her share of the agreed-upon 30 percent/70 percent split of the money. Deputies arrested her Tuesday on a charge of robbery with a deadly weapon. She remains at the Land O'Lakes jail in lieu of $150,000 bail.

Borges remains at large, deputies said.

A short while after the robbery, authorities say, Borges, 51, bought a blue and white 2009 Suzuki Katana 600 motorcycle. Reports and a previous mugshot of Borges show him slim and tan, about 5 feet 6 inches tall, with hollow cheeks, a thin mustache and broken teeth.

Reports also paint Borges as a thankless partner in crime.

In 2000, reports state, he walked into the garden center at a different Kmart on U.S. 19 in New Port Richey, told a cashier he had a gun and made off with the money.

His friend Justin Blair King drove the getaway car, reports state, but while the two were driving from the robbery, King crashed the car into a ditch on Sea Forest Drive.

King was arrested at the crash site.

Borges took off on foot, though he was arrested later that night after threatening a security guard.

In the investigation, authorities found that Borges took $1,036 from the Kmart cashier.

He gave King $15 for his trouble.

Alex Orlando can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 869-6247.

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