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Technology was bane and boon of investigation

A teen-ager accused of shooting a beauty shop operator in Pasco County last month was found this week, huddled beneath a blanket in the closet of a northwest Hillsborough apartment.

The circumstances leading to the arrest had detectives thanking technology _ and cursing it.

Donaldson Edwards Jr., 16, was charged as an adult with attempted murder and robbery in the Jan. 30 holdup of the Hair Place salon in Wesley Chapel.

Witnesses say Edwards asked for a haircut and then pulled a gun. The owner, Geraldine McLoud, was shot in the shoulder as she bolted for the back door. She is recovering.

Edwards is held without bail.

Hillsborough officials became aware of Edwards early this week when Thomas Pyla, 28, of Tampa told deputies he saw a man climb into his 1988 Toyota and drive off Tuesday.

The case would have been routine, except that Pyla got a call Wednesday from a man claiming to be a sheriff's deputy and asking for the code number for Pyla's automatic teller card.

Pyla, acting on advice of his police officer father, gave the caller a relative's telephone number and asked that he call back there. That phone, Pyla said, has a device that displays the caller's number.

"When he called back, zingo we had him," Pyla said. The call was traced to an northwest Hillsborough apartment.

Edwards was charged with grand theft. Because he is a juvenile and a computer check failed to turn up a criminal record, he was released into his father's custody, said Hillsborough sheriff's Detective Elliot Parsowith.

When Edward's father and grandmother told detectives Edwards had a criminal record, they second computer check and again came up empty.

But on both occasions, technicians looked for the name Donald Edwards, not Donaldson.

Later, Edwards' grandmother, Mamie Lee Vanks, told detectives of Edwards' criminal past and a third computer run _ with the correct name _ found a lengthy record, Parsowith said.

Detectives went back and arrested Edwards at his father's home later Wednesday.

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