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Guilty verdict in robbery, kidnapping of St. Petersburg real estate agents

Paul Jay Pinkston, a computer analyst, was arrested on June 8, 2015, as a suspect in two Realtor robberies and attacks in Pinellas County. Here he is taken from the Police Department in St. Petersburg. [SOPHIA NAHLI ALLISON  |   TIMES]
Paul Jay Pinkston, a computer analyst, was arrested on June 8, 2015, as a suspect in two Realtor robberies and attacks in Pinellas County. Here he is taken from the Police Department in St. Petersburg. [SOPHIA NAHLI ALLISON | TIMES]
Published May 13, 2016

Paul Pinkston, the St. Petersburg man charged with holding two Realtors at gunpoint last year, was found guilty Thursday night on two counts of armed robbery and one count of kidnapping.

The robberies happened June 3. In the first incident, police said, Pinkston, 59, pulled a gun on an agent from Hofacker & Associates, handcuffed her, and took her phone and keys after failing to secure a $50,000 ransom.

In the second robbery, Pinkston also pulled a gun and took another agent's phone and keys. According to arrest reports, he used a .357-caliber revolver, which officers said they recovered when they took him into custody.

The incidents rattled the local real estate community, though they aren't entirely rare. Experts actually consider real estate a high-risk profession.

The U.S. Air Force major with no criminal historywas arrested June 8 after a tipster called police about his identity.

Pinkston is scheduled to be sentenced next month. He faces a possible sentence of 20 years in prison.