Economic Crimes Arrest

Who:
Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office
Investigative Operations Bureau
-Economic Crimes Unit

Pinellas County Consumer Protection

Robert R. Vanwie Jr. (Suspect-Arrested)
DOB:  08/02/1974
Address:  3131 56th Avenue North, St. Petersburg
Employer: Gourmet Grocery LLC
Charges:  One count of Robbery, Burglary, Theft from person over 65 years of age, Home solicitation without a permit, and Failure to provide three day right to cancel.

Andrew Tsaffaras (Suspect-Arrested on Pinellas County Consumer Protection Case)
Address: 6077 136th Avenue North, Clearwater
Employer: Gourmet Grocery LLC

Erick J. Harmon (Suspect-Arrested on Pinellas County Consumer Protection Case)
DOB: 01/12/1979
Employer: Gourmet Grocery LLC

Shirley McGathey (Victim)
Age: 85 year-old 
Address: 9925 Ulmerton Road, Largo (Oak Crest Mobile Home Park)

What:              
Detectives assigned to the Economic Crimes Unit have arrested a St. Petersburg man for one count of Robbery, Burglary, Theft from person over 65 years of age, Home solicitation without a permit, and Failure to provide three day right to cancel.

When:    
The strong arm robbery occurred on May 11, 2018 at about 1:30 pm.                                          

The suspect was arrested at about 10:30 am on Thursday, May 31, 2018.

Where:
The robbery occurred at the victim’s residence located at 9925 Ulmerton Road, Largo (Oak Crest Mobile Home Park).

Why/How:
Detectives assigned to the Economic Crimes Unit have arrested a St. Petersburg man for one count of Robbery, Burglary, Theft from person over 65 years of age, Home solicitation without a permit, and Failure to provide three day right to cancel.

According to detectives, the investigation began on May 11, 2018 after the 85- year old victim, Shirley McGathey, reported a robbery to deputies. Investigators say, the victim reported she was outside of her residence located at 9925 Ulmerton Road, Largo to get her mail when she was approached by the suspect, 44 year-old Ronald Vanwie Jr., soliciting the sale of meat. McGathey reported to deputies she recently injured herself and currently utilizes a walker for mobility assistance. McGathey reported to deputies she told the suspect (Vanwie), she did not wish to purchase the meat. Detectives say Vanwie followed McGathey to the front door of her residence. McGathey told Vanwie again she was not interested in the purchase of meat and attempted to enter her residence. McGathey attempted to lock the front door of her residence when the suspect forced his way into her home.

Investigators say McGathey repeatedly told Vanwie to leave her home and he refused. Vanwie insisted she was going to purchase meat from him and became increasingly more aggressive each time she declined to purchase the meat. McGathey told detectives she was frightened of Vanwie who insisted she pay $500 for the package of meat. McGathey told Vanwie she did not have $500, but would pay $200 if he would leave her home. Vanwie placed the unwanted package of meat in her freezer, collected the $200 check from McGathey, and left her home. Investigators say McGathey reported she was terrified of Vanwie and was forced to pay him for her safety.  

Through this investigation, it was learned that Pinellas County Consumer Protection was investigating cases with the same modus operandi involving two additional employees of Gourmet Grocery LLC.

Detectives say Ronald has a past history of reported aggressive meat sales and a conviction of home solicitation without a permit.

Detectives arrested Vanwie at about 10:30 am on Thursday, May 31, 2018, at the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. 

Vanwie was charged with one count of Robbery, Burglary, Theft from person over 65 years of age, Home solicitation without a permit, and Failure to provide three day right to cancel. He was transported to the Pinellas County Jail without incident.

On Friday, June 1, 2018, Pinellas County Consumer Protection obtained arrest warrants for the two additional suspect, Andrew Tsaffaras and Erick Harmon.  Detectives from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office assisted with the apprehension of these suspects who were arrested this morning.  For additional information please contact Pinellas County Marketing and Communications 727- 464-4600 or e-mail, oncallpio@pinellascounty.org.

The investigation continues and detectives are asking anyone with additional information and or who might have been a victim to contact the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, Detective J. Holden at 727-582-6200 or e-mail jholden@pcsonet.com.

See attached booking photograph.                                        


Robert R. Vanwie Jr.                                      Andrew Tsaffaras                                    Erick J. Harmon 

Posted by Dan Difrancesco Friday, June 1, 2018 3:02:00 PM Categories: Crimes Against Persons

Non Emergency Line: (727) 582-6200 | In an Emergency call 911