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ROBBERY IS BLAMED ON NEED FOR DRUGS

LARGO

A Largo man accused of five robberies said he did it because he needed money to feed his addiction to painkillers, police say.

The string of robberies began May 30, when Largo police say Ryan Lee Murphy, 25, entered a 7-Eleven on Clearwater Largo Road N and demanded money just before 5 a.m. After a cashier gave him $96 from the cash register, he fled the store on his bicycle.

Murphy of 805 10th St. SW went to three other stores that day: first, a Tropical Smoothie store at 9:52 a.m., then the PineCrest Golf store at 10:08 a.m. and finally a BP gas station at 11:37 a.m., a police report states. Each time he demanded money from the cashiers, but didn't get any, the report states.

On June 29, Murphy returned to the 7-Eleven on Clearwater Largo Road N and again demanded money. After he was given $19, he fled, police say.

In all five cases, Murphy either said he had a gun or implied he did, police said. Surveillance cameras at two of the stores captured the robberies. Murphy was arrested early Saturday and faces five charges of strong-arm robbery. He was being held Saturday at the Pinellas County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bail.

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BUNNELL

Man's ashes to be spread via fireworks

The family of a Florida man has chosen a unique way to spread his ashes: sending them off in fireworks during a lakeside Fourth of July celebration.

Tom Moore died unexpectedly in May, and his remains were cremated.

The Central Florida man always enjoyed watching fireworks on the Fourth of July, and so his family approached a fireworks company about spreading his ashes during the celebration.

Santore & Sons agreed to accommodate the family's request, and began packing Moore's ashes into shells on Tuesday.

The pyrotechnic tribute to Moore will be held today.

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FORT MYERS

Man arrested in Calif. for 1981 Florida murder

A California man has been arrested and charged in a murder that took place nearly 30 years ago in Fort Myers.

James Edward Sims was taken into custody Friday at his residence in Lakewood, Calif., the Lee County Sheriff's Office said. He has been charged with the 1981 murder of 29-year-old Roy Radabaugh.

Sims was identified as a suspect, but authorities say he fled and assumed a new life and identity in California.

A civilian analyst with the sheriff's cold case unit used a thumbprint on a California driver's license to identify him.

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