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Tampa police trail robbery suspect to Largo bank, arrest him

LARGO — With an undisclosed amount of money in his shirt, Kevin James Algood emerged from the BB&T Bank on Walsingham Road just before 12:30 p.m. Friday.

There had been five other bank robberies in Tampa as well as Hillsborough and Pasco counties, Largo police Lt. Mike Loux said, and Algood was suspected in all of them.

Police said he thought he was about to get away with a sixth.

What Algood didn't know was that Tampa police officers had followed him from his north Tampa home, called 911 and stationed themselves outside the BB&T.

"Police!" the uniformed officers shouted, guns drawn.

Algood, 32, ran. An officer who predicted that very scenario and was positioned in another area outside the bank took him down and handcuffed him.

As they waited for Largo police to arrive, Algood asked the Tampa authorities a question:

"How did you guys get here so fast?"

• • •

It's not everyday, Tampa police spokeswoman Andrea Davis said, that bank robbers are caught in the act.

"To catch a bank robbery suspect and to catch him in progress is rare," she said. "Everything was aligned on Friday for this guy to be caught."

Tampa police released surveillance video of a robbery last Tuesday afternoon at a Bank of America on Amberly Drive in Tampa Palms.

In the video, available on YouTube, a white man wearing a blue University of Florida hat, black long-sleeved shirt and jeans approaches a teller.

The man, who appears to be in his early 30s, about 5-feet-11 and 170 pounds, hands the teller a handwritten note. She returns a short time later with money. The man flees.

The video led to a Crimestoppers tip. The man in the footage resembled someone the tipster knew. That wasn't enough to make an arrest, so Tampa police detectives and FBI agents began trailing Algood.

"At one point," Davis said, "they said, 'This isn't the guy.' He went past several banks and didn't stop." All of that changed when Algood arrived at 14141 Walsingham Road, the address for the Largo BB&T.

• • •

Sometime around 12:20 p.m., a bank alarm sounded. Algood ran outside with money in his shirt and some in his hands, Davis said.

After a Tampa officer tackled him, authorities found a handwritten note — just like the one used in the Tampa Palms robbery.

Algood said his name was Brian. Fingerprints revealed his true identity. Algood is no stranger to law enforcement. His criminal record begins in August 1995, just a month shy of his 18th birthday. It spans 16 pages. The arrests are largely the same. Burglary. Larceny. Petit Theft.

• • •

Friday, Algood asked law enforcement officials how they found him. He got no reply.

"Oh, the city of Tampa," he told the nonresponsive officers. "You guys must have been following me for a long time."

Investigations in Hillsborough and Pasco counties remain open.

"We have some robberies with similar suspect descriptions that we're looking at, but we have not filed any charges at this point," Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Debbie Carter said. "It's still an active investigation."

Pasco County Sheriff's Office spokesman Kevin Doll said his agency had "not completed photo packs for our witnesses, so we are not commenting at this time." Algood was taken to the Pinellas County Jail, where he remained Tuesday in lieu of $100,000 bail.

"Old school police work," Tampa's Davis said. "It still works."

Times researcher Carolyn Edds contributed to this report. Rodney Thrash can be reached at rthrash@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4167.

Tampa police trail robbery suspect to Largo bank, arrest him 09/07/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 7, 2010 9:10pm]
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