Police: Pawn shop robber nabbed outside casino with $300,000 in jewelry

Published March 9 2013

TAMPA — Hours after he held up a pawn shop at gunpoint, a man was arrested outside Seminole Hard Rock Casino Friday with more than $300,000 in jewelry and cash, police said.

Alexander Escarrama, 36, of Tampa faces charges of armed robbery with a firearm, armed kidnapping with a firearm and violation of probation on previous robbery and grand theft convictions after Tampa police said he was stopped outside the casino with $300,000 worth of jewelry and $25,000 in cash.

About 9:30 a.m. Friday, a man with a handgun wearing large sunglasses and a hooded sweatshirt entered Value Pawn Store, 5123 N Nebraska Ave., according to Tampa police. The man tied the hands of a male employee, then pointed the gun at a female employee and forced her to open the safe. He took cash and jewelry and left.

Tampa detectives said they identified Escarrama as a suspect through witnesses, and set up surveillance outside the home of a former female employee of the pawn shop Escarrama knows. The woman left her home with two suitcases and drove to the casino. Police followed her to the casino, where they said they found Escarrama in a car with another man, the jewelry and cash, and the gun and backpack used in the robbery.

The former pawn shop employee and the other man in the car with Escarrama could face charges, police said.