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Police arrest third man in attack, robbery near MacDill

TAMPA — Police issued a stern warning Monday to the fourth and final man they say is still at large in a violent robbery and beating of an Army sergeant this month near MacDill Air Force Base.

"We're coming for you," said Tampa police Lt. Mary O'Connor. "We're definitely going to figure out who you are, and we're coming for you. So it would probably be best for you to turn yourself in right now. You were captured on video."

O'Connor said that dozens of officers were working the case that captured some national attention and that it had the highest priority of any current case in the district.

"This is a big case," she said. "We have (had) officers working on identifying these guys around the clock."

Although police did not have the name of the fourth man, O'Connor said they had good leads and were actively investigating. "We anticipate that we'll be able to identify him," she said.

On Sunday, police arrested Jared Richardson, 18, of Brandon, the third man to be implicated in the case. He was picked up in his vehicle outside a Brandon La Quinta Inn & Suites and faces charges of robbery, aggravated battery and possession of marijuana. His vehicle was seized for forfeiture, police said. He was being held at the Hillsborough County Jail Monday on $15,500 bail.

Two others, Geroshe Lewis and Lerome Howard, both 18, were each charged with aggravated battery and robbery, police said. Monday, Hillsborough Circuit Judge Walter Heinrich ordered a hearing today to determine who their lawyers will be, and one Thursday to determine if either or both should be held in jail.

Lewis and Howard were part of a trio that approached Sgt. Johnny Aparicio, 24, about 3:30 a.m. on May 13 on Iowa Avenue and asked him for a dollar, police said. The men, later joined by Richardson, who was driving the men, began punching and kicking Aparicio. They robbed him and ran away, police said.

Caught on surveillance video, the incident garnered attention around the country. Businesses and individuals, locally and from as far away as New Jersey, pledged more than $16,000 in reward money for information leading to the suspects' arrest.

Tampa police said they received dozens of tips and have credited those tips with leading to the arrests.

O'Connor said that Aparicio was happy to see the arrests.

"He's appreciative that these crimes are being dealt with so swiftly. I think he'll feel much better once all four are in jail."

Police said they hadn't recovered his cellphone or wallet.

Times staff writer John Barry contributed to this report.

Police arrest third man in attack, robbery near MacDill 05/21/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 6:31pm]
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