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Tampa man, 25, charged with four bank robberies

The quick thinking of a witness to a bank robbery put a 25-year-old man in jail Wednesday charged with five robberies in the south Tampa area, Tampa police said. Ralph Baxter Cutchins of Tampa was arrested about 4 p.m. Wednesday at his home, police said. A man matching Cutchins' description walked into the Sun Bank at 2002 S MacDill Ave. about noon Wednesday, demanded money and ran away, police said. A witness who watched the robber get into a red Camaro and drive away copied down the license plate number. Police picked up Cutchins, who lives in the area of the robberies, and matched his photograph to four other bank robberies in the last two months. Cutchins is charged with the Jan. 26 and Feb. 22 robberies of the Barnett Bank, 3615 W Gandy Blvd., the Feb. 2 robbery of the NationsBank, 4003 W Neptune Ave., and the Feb. 14 robbery of the First City Bank, 1921 S Dale Mabry Highway. Cutchins was in FBI custody Wednesday night.

Police still seeking two accusers in rape trial

Tampa police Wednesday had not found two women who failed to appear in court to testify against a man charged with raping and sexually mutilating them in October, officials said. Hillsborough County Judge Claudia Isom issued arrest warrants for both women after they failed to appear Tuesday afternoon, six days before the case was scheduled for trial. The women are refusing to talk to John Fernandez, a public defender representing the suspect, 54-year-old George Edward Wright. One of the women met with Fernandez on Jan. 4 but walked out after eight minutes. She told prosecutors she found Fernandez "abrasive," said Cynthia Heir, the assistant state attorney who is prosecuting the case. Wright, who was charged twice in Dade County with sexual battery before charges were dropped, could go free if the women do not testify.

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