Panhandler robs Sarasota man offering assistance - FOX 13 News

Panhandler robs Sarasota man offering assistance

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Biggs, 32, is being held without bond at the Sarasota County Jail. He is facing several charges including robbery. Biggs, 32, is being held without bond at the Sarasota County Jail. He is facing several charges including robbery.

A homeless man with an extensive criminal record robbed an elderly man who offered him assistance Saturday morning in Sarasota.

Thomas Lee Biggs was quickly captured however and the man's money recovered thanks to alert store clerk. The 32-year-old suspect was booked into the Sarasota County Jail on robbery and drug charges.

According to a Sarasota Police Department report Biggs encountered his victim near the boat ramps at Centennial Park just after 8 a.m. The suspect told the 62-year-old man that he needed money to pay his rent or he would be evicted.

The victim said he wanted to help Biggs but only had large bills. He offered to take him to a nearby Sunoco Gas station to get some change. Unfortunately the store clerk could not provide change for a $50 bill.

When the victim returned to his vehicle Biggs allegedly overpowered him and grab the $50. The Sunoco employee witnessed the crime and called 9-1-1.

Several SPD units arrived at the scene, obtained a suspect description and issued a Be On the Lookout For report.

An officer spotted Biggs a few blocks away and detained him for questioning. The victim was transported to the location and positively identified the suspect as the man who robbed him.

At the time of his arrest however Biggs did not have possession of the bill he took from his victim. A follow up investigation revealed the suspect had changed the bill at a business in the 1100 block of Central Ave.

An employee of the business told investigators that Biggs came in for change and he handed him 30 $1 bills and four $5 bills.

The suspect was in possession of the money and a glass crack pipe when he was arrested.

Biggs is no stranger to law enforcement with more than 20 prior arrests in the past five years on a variety of charges including robbery, battery and burglary.

The Sarasota Police Department cautions anyone from giving funds to panhandlers. The donated money may not be used for the stated purpose as was the case in this incident.

Biggs is being held without bond due to a probation violation.

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