Man arrested in Ocala robbery scams

Published On: Jul 02 2013 07:46:51 AM EDT
Updated On: Jul 03 2013 03:06:14 PM EDT

Ocala police are searching for a man who they say is using a scam to rob businesses.

OCALA, Fla. -

A man accused of using a scam to rob Marion County businesses turned himself in to authorities on Wednesday.

Nicholas Alexander Cowart, 33, of Ocala, was arrested on robbery charges and was being held on $20,000 bond at the Marion County Jail.

Early Tuesday morning, a man later identified as Cowrart walked into the Steak 'n Shake at 3800 SW College Road, and told the woman behind the counter he was there to rob the restaurant, police said.

He claimed he was being forced into the robbery by a man in his car and two other men at his house. The Steak 'n Shake employee then got her manager who said she was calling the police.

The man left the restaurant and drove away in a white car, police said.

Police say the same car was spotted at the Kangaroo Gas station at 5160 S. Pine Avenue the day before.

The man told the clerk that two gunmen carjacked him and threatened to kill him if he did not rob the store.

The clerk emptied the register and the man got away with $55.

Prior to the arrest, Ocala resident Claudia Blystone said she was scared he might not walk away next time.

“Who knows when he's going to turn violent. If he doesn't get what he wants, what's he going to do?” she said.

Neither the clerk or the Steak 'n Shake employees reported that the man was carrying a weapon.

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