Federal Charges Filed Against Tampa Man for Armed Gas Station Robbery

In a significant development revealed by US Attorney Roger B. Handberg, Brandale Swails, a 29-year-old Tampa native, has been indicted on serious federal charges following a daring robbery at a nearby gas station.

Swails is charged with Hobbs Act robbery and using a firearm during or in connection with a violent felony. If proven guilty of these crimes, he faces a minimum required term of seven years in federal prison, highlighting the gravity of the allegations against him.

The event occurred on October 15, 2023, when Swails, reportedly arriving by bicycle, targeted a Tampa gas station. Court filings give a disturbing depiction of the events.

Swails entered the shop, pointed a handgun at the clerk, and demanded money. The scared clerk sought safety behind the counter, but Swails pursued aggressively, leaping over it and threatening to shoot unless the register was opened so he could pass over $100 dollars.

Swails maintained a threatening demeanor, holding the cashier at gunpoint and even pushing the victim into a lavatory before departing with an undisclosed sum of money on his bicycle. Swails’ escape from the law ended two weeks after the robbery when he was captured by authorities while hiding inside a bedroom closet.

It is vital to understand that an indictment is not a conviction, but rather a formal accusation of criminal conduct. Swails is assumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives conducted a thorough investigation into this matter. Assistant United States Attorney Diego F. Novaes will lead the prosecution, ensuring that justice is pursued relentlessly.

This incident is also part of the larger project known as Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), which represents a concerted effort to combat violent crime and gun violence across the country.

The Department’s violent crime reduction strategy, which was announced on May 26, 2021, aims to improve public safety through collaboration between law enforcement at all levels and the communities they serve, with a focus on building trust, supporting violence prevention at its root, strategically targeting enforcement efforts, and rigorously measuring outcomes to ensure effectiveness.

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