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Officer would give reward to Tackett's family

Off-duty police Officer William Walker was riding his motorcycle this week when he noticed a man fleeing a bank with a zippered bag.

After tracking the man down, Walker pulled up beside him, flashed his badge and drew his 9mm handgun, St. Petersburg police said. While a woman called for help, Walker held the man until Largo police arrived.

Bank officials were thrilled.

"We did want to give him a reward," said Vernon Hoggard, a security officer with the bank. "I think the guy did a terrific job. It was my recommendation that we send a letter of commendation to the chief of police so it could go into his file _ at least that. Basically, what we wanted to do was give him and his wife a reward _ a nice dinner or something at the Vinoy."

Instead, Walker asked that any reward be given to the family of slain Belleair police officer Jeffery Tackett.

Bank officials Friday were not certain whether any reward had been turned over to Tackett's family.

Tackett was killed Sunday night while trying to arrest a burglary suspect at Pelican Place condominiums. He was buried Friday. Walker, like officers from around the county, was at the service.

The bank robbery occurred Monday during the height of the homicide investigation into Tackett's death. At about 11 a.m., a man carrying a blue, zippered bag entered NationsBank at 6599 Ulmerton Road in Largo, Pinellas Sheriff's Office spokesman Sgt. Greg Tita said. He said the man gave a teller a note demanding money, then left through the west door, Tita said.

Walker, 26, was riding his motorcycle when he saw a man run across Ulmerton. Walker entered the bank parking lot, learned of the robbery and took off after the man.

Tita said he chased the man, who was riding a bicycle, cornering him outside a nearby shopping center. Walker held the suspect while a woman in the parking lot called 911. Minutes later, Largo police arrived and took the man back to the bank, where he was identified.

Donald E. Triplett, 35, of Lot 69 at the Tiki Village in Largo, was charged with robbery and booked at the Pinellas County Jail. All the money was recovered.

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