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Revered ice cream shop has unsweet repeat of history

It's been more than two decades since the owners of Bo's Ice Cream confronted three would-be robbers with guns and a promise that they would kill them if they had to.

In recent years, as Seminole Heights went through a rebirth of home renovations and rising property values, the Bosanko family watched as crime fell.

Customers kept coming, some driving miles for their double scoops and sinful sundaes. The gun didn't seem like such a necessity.

But Monday night, Kenny Bosanko pulled out his shotgun, again intending to scare off three armed men.

The intruders had tied up his 34-year-old son and a Bo's manager, locked them in a tiny bathroom, then tried to break into the back office of the popular ice cream shop while Bosanko slept inside.

"My granddaughter was pounding on the door, telling me to come out," said Bosanko, 59. "But by the time I came out with my gun, the police were already here and the guys had run off."

Bosanko said the three young men, scared off by a third Bo's employee, didn't get any of his ice cream revenues.

"They peeled away part of the door frame trying to get into the office to get to the money," he said. "But nobody's ever been successful trying to rob this place."

Police say the three waited until Bo's was closing down for the night. At 11:15, they sneaked into a breezeway at the back of the business at 7101 N Florida Ave. A gate into the breezeway had been left open by accident, Bosanko said.

Inside the breezeway, they confronted Michael James Bosanko, the elder Bosanko's son. He had walked over from his nearby home to get a soda.

"All of a sudden, there was a gun at my head," the son said. "I thought they were kidding."

They weren't.

The three men tied Michael Bosanko up with flimsy plastic zip ties, then tied up manager Anthony R. Detrictas, 42, the same way. They locked Detrictas and Bosanko in the bathroom and pushed a washing machine up against the door, Bosanko said.

The intruders were trying to pry open the lock on the back office door when Bo's employee Dustin Williams, 19, walked up and startled them.

Police say one of the men pointed a gun at Williams, then fled with the other two in an older-model dark red Ford Mustang with a rear spoiler.

"I'm hoping it's just something that will never happen again," said the elder Bosanko, who was 9 years old when his father opened Bo's Ice Cream in 1954.

The victims described the would-be robbers as Hispanic men between 18 and 25 years old. They wore scarves over their faces and similar outfits _ long-sleeved black and white sweaters, jeans, orange hats and blue scarves. Two carried guns; the third had a knife.

Bosanko, serving a steady stream of customers Tuesday as he spoke with reporters, said he'll add surveillance cameras to the outside of the business to thwart future robberies.

If that doesn't work, there's always the shotgun.

Shannon Colavecchio-Van Sickler can be reached at (813) 226-3373 or

Customers line up for treats at Bo's Ice Cream on a June evening in 1997. The business has been at 7101 N Florida Ave. in Tampa since 1954. An owner remembers one other armed robbery attempt in that time.