Bradenton man found guilty of armed robberies

TAMPA -- A 19-year-old man faces at least 57 years and up to life in federal prison after he was found guilty today for three gas station robberies in 2009, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Charles Bernard Tolson Jr. was convicted for the Oct. 25 hold-up of a Shell station in Tampa, and the robbery of a BP station on U.S. 41 North in Palmetto about an hour later. In the Palmetto robbery, Tolson tried to shoot a clerk, and when his gun misfired he ordered an accomplice to pistol whip the woman, according to a news release.

Two days later, on Oct. 27, Tolson and an accomplice robbed a Chevron gas station on State Road 70 East in Bradenton.

Tolson was indicted for the robberies in July 2010, and today a jury found him guilty of three counts of robbery and three counts of brandishing a firearm during a robbery.

Tolson was prosecuted in federal court because authorities say the robberies interfered with interstate commerce.

The robbery cases were investigated by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Tampa Police Department and the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.

Tolson has an extensive felony criminal record in Manatee County, according to court records.