Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Public safety

Police: St. Pete man robbed bank to pay drug dealer

ST. PETERSBURG — Police say a drug debt drove a man to rob a bank Friday.

James Patrick Andrews, 43, told investigators he robbed a Bank of America at 2145 34th St. N. He had tried to withdraw money from his account using his ATM card, only to discover that he had a negative balance, police said.

He approached a teller and handed her a note demanding $1,000, police said. He told her that if she left the window or pressed an alarm button, people in the lobby would be hurt.

Police said Andrews never displayed a weapon.

The teller handed the money to Andrews, who left the store and rode away in a car driven by another man.

Andrews was arrested at a gas station later Friday and told police the money went to a man he owed for drugs.

The driver of the getaway car was unaware Andrews had robbed the bank, police said.

Andrews was charged with strong arm robbery and possession of crack cocaine and drug paraphernalia.

According to court records, Andrews has an extensive criminal history, including numerous charges related to drugs, burglary and domestic battery.

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