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Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014
Crime & Courts

New Port Richey man faces robbery charges in multiple counties


A New Port Richey man wanted in several counties in connection with bank robberies is jailed after being caught by a special unit of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

Thomas J. Nelson, 33, of 2028 Overview Drive, New Port Richey, is jailed in Pasco County. He was wanted on two outstanding bank robberies in Hillsborough, a felony grand theft warrant out of Polk County, and was out on bond in Pasco for a previous bank robbery in October 2013, according to the Hillsborough sheriff’s office.

Hillsborough’s TIN-D detectives learned on Tuesday that Thomas was going to the Target store at State Road 54 and the Suncoast Parkway in Pasco County, the sheriff’s office said. They coordinated with the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office, which helped in surveillance of the store.

About 5:30 p.m., detectives saw Nelson meet his wife and child, and then enter the Target, the sheriff’s office said. Authorities caught him as he left the store, headed toward his motorcycle.

He was booked into the Land O’ Lakes jail where he will be held until he is returned to Hillsborough. Nelson has a history of bank robberies was released in 2002 after serving time in federal prison on a bank robbery charge.

Nelson is a suspect in two bank robberies in Hillsborough late last year:

* About 1:10 p.m. Nov. 7, Nelson went to the Bank of America branch, at 13829 W. Hillsborough Ave., the sheriff’s office said. Nelson, wearing a full-face motorcycle helmet, demanded cash from a teller, and got an undisclosed amount. He fled on a black motorcycle.

* Then, about 12:25 p.m. Dec. 21, Nelson wore a ball cap, sunglasses and a fake beard as he walked into the Bank of America branch, at 13080 Race Track Road in Tampa, the sheriff’s office said. He passed a note demanding cash to a teller, who turned over an undisclosed amount of cash. He fled on a black 1987 BMW motorcycle, which was abandoned in Pinellas County, Florida.

The TIN-D detectives of the Hillsborough sheriff’s office are trained to evaluate information used to identify high-priority targets.