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Serial robber arrested after allegedly robbing 4 Hillsborough County gas stations in 8 days

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Posted at 11:23 AM, Dec 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-30 11:23:22-05

A serial gas station robber was arrested after police say he robbed four Hillsborough County gas stations within eight days of each other.

Between Dec. 22 and Dec. 28, Tampa Police say Samuel Jerome Smith, 26, committed three robberies at various gas stations. Each time he was armed with a black semi-automatic handgun and demanded cash. Surveillance video from one of the incidents showed him leaving the scene in a light colored 4-door sedan.

Those robberies took place at :

12/22
Circle K
6501 Hillsborough Ave. W

12/24 at 2:57 a.m.
7-Eleven
824 Waters Ave. W

12/28 at 3:53 a.m.
7-Eleven
2928 Fowler Ave. E

Uniformed and plain clothes officers were aware of the suspect's description and were conducting increased pro-active patrols around local gas stations and convenience stores.

Then on Dec. 30, detectives noticed a light colored Chevy Malibu in the area of 15th and Fowler Ave. Police say the registered owner of the vehicle, Smith, matched the suspect description in the various offenses.

He exited the vehicle wearing a black hoodie over his head and approaching the Circle K there, but the door was locked and Smith retreated back to his car.

Surveillance continued and police say Smith went to the 7-Eleven at 56th and Puritan Rd., where he approached the business but again retreated back to his vehicle after seeing the number of people inside.

Finally at 4:20 a.m., police followed him tot he Marathon gas station at 4301 W. Hillsborough Ave. where he then allegedly committed another armed robbery.

Smith left the scene but was quickly taken into custody on Belle Chase Circle.

He was positively identified and the gun used in the robbery was recovered under the driver's seat of the car. He later confessed to the three robberies committed in Tampa.

Smith is charged with four counts of armed robbery.