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TV show generates tips on fugitive

After a national crime show aired a segment on fugitive Jeffrey Scott Durham, detectives in Pinellas County got 110 tips on his whereabouts.

About a half-dozen of the leads are credible, said Detective Paul Martin of the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

"I think we've got two really, really good ones," he said.

A suspect in four bank robberies in Pinellas County, two bank robberies near Cocoa Beach and 40 burglaries along the Pinellas beaches, the 33-year-old Durham is said to be notorious for violent, take-over style robberies.

In a Pinellas Park bank, Durham, formerly of St. Petersburg, fired an AK-47 round into the ceiling, according to detectives.

At a bank in St. Petersburg, a hoax bomb with flares, not explosives, was left ticking.

Durham made an appearance on The Jerry Springer Show with his transvestite lover in the midst of what detectives called a crime rampage.

He was seen in November in Kentucky, where authorities believe he is now hiding.

Last Saturday, Durham was featured on America's Most Wanted. The best leads, according to the show's spokesman, came from the Louisville, Ky., area.

"We had a camera crew on standby in case anything turned out," said Michael Molmar, the spokesman.

Some tips were bogus; others good.

Police ruled out calls from people who, for example, simply reported seeing Durham driving along a highway. In one case, a tipster reported that Durham was at a motel in a Kentucky town. Police were sent, but it was not Durham. Another caller said he saw Durham at Walt Disney World.

"I don't think he's here in Florida," Martin said, "but there are people here who are in touch with him."

Martin and St. Petersburg detectives James Shakas and Paul McWade, the other investigators working the case, are paying close attention to clues with details, such as places Durham may be living or working.

"He's working with some people who have some shady business dealings," Martin said.

"A criminal would fit right in with that group of people."

Martin declined to discuss the best tips in detail.

Federal authorities have come close to nabbing Durham.

But he uses at least a dozen aliases, which include such names as William Anthony Dezarn, Jeffrey Mullens and Christopher Jason. He also has fake driver's licenses from five or six states.

Durham also has no ties.

"He has very few lifelong friends, and he's willing to leave his personal possessions," Martin said.

Shakas and McWade, the St. Petersburg detectives, captured Durham's accomplice, 33-year-old Lloyd James Clayton, of St. Petersburg, in September. He is in federal custody.

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