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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Middle District of Florida
Roger B. Handberg, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Tampa Man Pleads Guilty to Three Robberies, Brandishing and Discharging a Firearm

TAMPA, Fla — U.S. Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces that Donald Robert Smith, 29, of Tampa, has pleaded guilty to three separate Hobbs Act robberies, brandishing a firearm during and in relation to one of the robberies and discharging a firearm during and in relation to another of the robberies. Smith faces up to 20 years in federal prison for the robbery offenses; a minimum mandatory sentence of seven years, up to life, for brandishing the firearm; and a minimum of 10 years, up to life, for discharging the firearm. The latter two penalties are to run consecutive to any other term of imprisonment. Smith has also agreed to forfeit the firearm and ammunition traceable to the offense. A sentencing date has not yet been set.

According to court documents, on Aug. 1, 2022, Smith robbed a Tampa business utilizing a firearm and pointing it at business employees. Two days later, Smith robbed another Tampa business by pointing a firearm at the cashier and demanding money. During the investigation into the first two robberies, a search warrant for Smith’s vehicle was obtained and executed. Inside the vehicle, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) agents located a Taurus 9mm handgun. This firearm was then linked by a shell casing to another robbery on Aug. 1, 2022. In this robbery, Smith approached an individual as he was turning in his work truck for the night. Smith approached the victim and demanded his wallet. As Smith walked away, he discharged the firearm.

This case was investigated by the ATF. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Samantha Newman. The forfeiture is being handled by Assistant United States Attorney James Muench.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department of Justice launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities and measuring the results.


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