Tip Leads Investigators to Armed Robbery Suspect in Spring Hill
SPRING HILL – RNRF receives dozens of viewer emails every day from people who provide story ideas, photographs of accident or crime scenes, and sometimes tips on the whereabouts of wanted criminals.
Yesterday, RNRF received a tip from a viewer who wished to remain anonymous, claiming to know the identity and possible location of an armed robbery suspect. That viewer told RNRF that 30-year-old Matthew Cook of 4144 Jason Road was most likely the person responsible for robbing the Kangaroo Convenience Store in Brooksville, on Monday (ARMED ROBBERY).
We immediately began investigating Cook’s background and social media activity, where we discovered several self-images on his Facebook page, bearing a striking resemblance to suspect captured on surveillance cameras inside the store. It appears that Cook frequently wears hats and sunglasses, and in a similar fashion as the suspect pictured in surveillance footage.
Jail records indicate that Cook was arrested for possession of methamphetamine on March 13th and released the same day on $2,000 bond. The only other local arrest that we discovered was a battery charge in 2010.
After completing our research, we passed the information along to the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office to investigate further. Within a few hours, deputies converged on the Jason Road address, but Cook was nowhere to be found. RNRF arrived on the scene, just as deputies received information that a man dressed in all black, believed to be Cook, was seen running through neighborhood streets near Northcliff Blvd and Deltona Blvd. With the assistance of K-9 and numerous deputies, a broad search was conducted of the area, but Cook was again able to avoid capture.
Just after 1:00 am this morning, jail records indicated that Cook was behind bars and charged with Aggravated Assault with a Firearm. It has not been confirmed if that charge is related to the Kangaroo Robbery or a separate incident.
According to Chief George Turner with the Brooksville Police Department, Cook is considered to be a suspect/person of interest in the Kangaroo Express Robbery.
Cook remains behind bars, held without bond.
Subsequent to the Armed Robbery investigation, two women who are listed as residents of the Jason Road apartment were arrested on numerous drug charges.
37-year-old Leigh Anne Stafford is charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance and 6-counts of Possession of Drug Equipment. Stafford remains behind bars, held on $16,000 bond.
35-year-old Tanya Ann Hanks is charged with Possession of Methamphetamine, Adderall, Morphine, and Oxycodone. Hanks remains behind bars, held on $42,000 bond.
We will bring more on this story as it develops.
UPDATE: Cook is now charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance without a Prescription. Bond on the Agg. Assault charge has been set at $1,000 but he remains behind bars, held without bond on the Possession charge.
Hanks received additional charges of Driving on a Suspended License and 4-counts of Possession of a Controlled Substance. Hanks’ original bond amount has been reduced to $12,000 but she remains held without bond on the new charges.
Stafford’s bond has been reduced to $1,500.
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