Port Manatee CFO's son arrested on 24 charges

jdeleon@bradenton.comJune 15, 2013 

MANATEE -- The son of the Port Manatee's chief financial officer was arrested and charged with stealing thousands of dollars of property, later selling them to feed his drug habit, authorities said.

Robert B. Armstrong was arrested June 11 and charged with 24 counts of burglary, defrauding a pawnshop and dealing in stolen property.

He is the son of Robert J. Armstrong, who was recently promoted to deputy executive director of the Port Authority at Port Manatee in addition to his chief financial officer duties.

Port authority spokeswoman Julie Yeh spoke on behalf of the father.

"He understands the public interest about this issue, and he wants to continue to be cooperative in the investigation," Yeh said. "As a father he is very concerned. Drug addiction is a very serious problem that demands immediate attention."

Currently Armstrong is in custody on bonds totaling $129,000 for his seven open cases. At Port Manatee, he is charged with stealing items and selling them to local pawn shops.

The items he took include air conditioners, computers, a camera, a GPS unit and a 65-inch projection TV, according to a Manatee Sheriff's Office incident report.

Armstrong turned himself to the Manatee County jail on warrants June 1. The two warrants were issued after he was found to have pawned a stolen canoe at Buccaneer Pawn in Bradenton.

Several stolen items were reported June 1-3. Armstrong had been an employee at the Port Authority.

The thefts at the Port Authority were determined to have begun as far back as Jan. 1.

The elder Armstrong admitted to authorities that he went to Value Pawn in Palmetto and purchased back some of the stolen items and returned them to the port. He also said that his son had stolen and pawned many of his personal items including scuba gear, guitars and lawn equipment.

The CFO also admitted that his son "had a pill problem," according to the report.

Palmetto police have also charged Armstrong with stealing items that include boat motors and pawning them. The thefts occurred in May.

This is not Robert B. Armstrong's first run-in with the law.

In October 2007, he was charged with possession of a controlled substance for Xanax and Klonopin.

In May 2008, he was charged again for possession of heroin and in Dec.enber 2006 for possession of hydrocodone.

Jessica De Leon, law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter @JDeLeon1012.

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