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Pawnshop robbery suspect is found shot

KENNETH CITY — A robber walked into a pawnshop with a baseball bat Tuesday and ran out bleeding, authorities say.

Armed with an aluminum bat, a man entered All American Pawn and smashed a display case about 1 p.m., according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

The owner, David Gardner, 51, grabbed a 9mm pistol and fired at least three times.

The robber left a trail of blood and stolen property as he ran on foot from the store, at 5903 54th Ave. N in unincorporated Kenneth City.

Deputies later arrested Willie J. Clarkson, 20, of 7025 Fourth St. N, No. 11, St. Petersburg, on a charge of armed robbery.

While deputies searched for the man, they noticed a Dodge Charger speeding nearby. Harold T. Roberson of 1235 Farragut Drive N thought the police activity was meant for him and "freaked out," according to the Sheriff's Office.

Roberson, 32, had outstanding warrants, including for cocaine possession and failing to deliver borrowed property. Roberson, who had no role in the pawnshop robbery, fled from deputies and was arrested, said sheriff's Sgt. Jim Bordner.

A few hours later, authorities received a call about a man with gunshot wounds after his girlfriend found him at her apartment, several blocks from the pawnshop.

Clarkson had at least two gunshot wounds and was wearing a shoe that matched one left at the crime scene, according to the Sheriff's Office. He was taken to a hospital and arrested.

According to Florida law, a person is justified in using deadly force when he or she believes it's necessary to prevent serious harm or death.

Bordner said the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office will determine whether the pawnshop owner acted within the law.

"It appears he was defending himself and his business," Bord­ner said.

Stephanie Garry can be reached

at (727) 892-2374 or

Pawnshop robbery suspect is found shot 05/27/08 [Last modified: Friday, May 30, 2008 7:51pm]
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