Crime

Manatee SWAT team captures armed robbery suspect

MANATEE -- A five-hour standoff ended shortly after 2 p.m. today as Manatee County Sheriff's Office SWAT team members brought a robbery suspect out of the Ace Cash Express building in the 5100 block of 14th Street West.

SWAT members used tear gas and flash bangs to eventually flush the suspect out of the building.

A crowd of bystanders cheered as deputies brought the handcuffed man, identified as Jess Cleveland Kelly, 38, out of the building.

Deputies believe Kelly broke into the business overnight or early this morning and waited for a store employee to arrive.

At around 8:25 a female clerk entered the business and was confronted at gunpoint by Kelly demanding her to open the store’s safe, according to a sheriff's account of the incident.

About an hour later deputies responded to an alarm call and heard screaming coming from inside the store. Deputies broke the front glass door and found the clerk tied up. The suspect was gone.

A short while later, deputies spotted Kelly on the roof. When he saw deputies he climbed back into an air conditioning vent -- the same access he apparently used earlier to break into the business.

Patrol deputies and SWAT members repeatedly ordered Kelly to come out, but he failed to respond.

Several other businesses in the building were evacuated and SWAT deployed gas and flash bangs.

Following a search of the building, SWAT members found Kelly just before 2 p.m. hiding in an air conditioning vent.

Kelly continued to refuse orders to surrender. SWAT members used more gas and Kelly finally surrendered.

Kelly is charged with armed robbery, false imprisonment, battery on law enforcement, resisting arrest and several counts of felony criminal mischief.

During the incident, traffic was re-routed off 14th Street West between the 49th Ave and 53rd Avenue as a precaution.

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