Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa police make arrest in series of armed robberies

TAMPA — When police found him, he was hiding in a bathtub.

James Morris, 51, of 6617 Interbay Blvd. was arrested on three counts of armed robbery. Police say he robbed three convenience stores in five days, armed with a sawed-off shotgun.

The last robbery happened at 9 p.m. Thursday at the Bayshore Quick Mart, 5435 Bayshore Blvd., police say. The first was Sunday at a 7-Eleven on Gandy Boulevard and the second was Wednesday at a Sunoco on S MacDill Avenue.

After the Bayshore robbery, though, detectives worked through Thursday night into Friday morning to put an end to the spate of robberies, finally tracking Morris down using a witness description of the getaway car.

Police said Morris approached the Quick Mart counter, asked the clerk for cigarettes, then pointed a short-barrel shotgun at the clerk and demanded cash.

When the man fled, the clerk noticed a portion of the word "Toyota" on the grille of the truck.

Detective Ray Estevez used an Internet search to narrow down the year of the truck to a 1989 to 1991 model — the only years Toyota trucks used the kind of grille lettering the witness described. That night Estevez and Sgt. Eddie Preston drove to homes in two ZIP codes where Toyota trucks made in those years were registered. There were 30.

The last house they visited also had a gray Avalon in the driveway — the same kind of car used in Sunday's 7-Eleven robbery at 3101 Gandy Blvd. Clothing inside the Avalon also seemed to match the description of the clothing worn in the first robbery, police said.

Morris was inside, hiding, police said, and so was a sawed-off shotgun.

Morris said he thought the man in surveillance video looked like him, but told police he didn't remember committing the crimes, police said.

Morris was arrested at 5 a.m. Friday and was being held without bail at the Falkenburg Road Jail.

James Morris, 51, is charged in several armed robberies.

James Morris, 51, is charged in several armed robberies.

Tampa police make arrest in series of armed robberies 07/17/09 [Last modified: Saturday, July 18, 2009 3:01pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Hernando teacher faces sexual battery charges

    Crime

    BROOKSVILLE — Deputies arrested a teacher on charges of sexual battery Tuesday, the Hernando County Sheriff's Office said.

  2. Drought forces tougher watering restrictions on Tampa Bay

    Water

    Homeowners in Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties will be limited to watering their lawns only once a week under new, tighter watering restrictions imposed Tuesday by the Southwest Florida Water Management District.

    A fallen pine tree burns and smolders in a section of pine flatwoods earlier this month in the Starkey Wilderness Preserve in Pasco County. Drought conditions have helped spark wildfires across the state. Now homeowners in Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties will face tighter watering restrictions imposed Tuesday by the Southwest Florida Water Management District. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
  3. Sharing extreme views, neo-Nazis sometimes convert to radical Islam

    Crime

    It sounds like an unlikely leap of faith: a neo-Nazi converting to Islamic extremism.

    Devon Arthurs, 18, told police  he shared neo-Nazi beliefs with his roommates, Jeremy Himmelman and Andrew Oneschuk, until he converted to Islam, according to a police report .
[Tampa Police]
  4. Target Corp. reaches $18.5 million settlement with 47 states over data breach

    Retail

    Target Corp. has agreed to pay Florida $928,963 out of a newly-announced $18.5 million settlement over a huge data breach that occurred in late 2013.

    Forty-seven states and the District of Columbia have reached an $18.5 million settlement with Target Corp. to resolve the states' probe into the discounter's massive pre-Christmas data breach in 2013. 
[Associated Press]
  5. Bomb experts say materials at Tampa Palms murder scene were meant to kill

    News

    TAMPA — Easily obtainable chemicals and equipment that investigators found at the scene of a double murder in Tampa Palms were assembled for one purpose, according to explosives experts: To create an improvised explosive device that could kill people and destroy property.

    Authorities search a vehicle late Sunday in Key Largo after arresting Brandon Russell of Tampa, who is not pictured. Russell faces federal explosives charges after Tampa police investigating a double homicide found bomb materials in his Tampa Palms apartment. [Photo courtesy of Kevin Wadlow, FlKeysNews.com]