Around 2:00 a.m. on Monday, April 20, 2020, the PCSO Emergency Communications Center (ECC) received a 911 call from the Circle K store located at 6340 Coronet Road in unincorporated Lakeland, during which the clerk reported being robbed at gunpoint.
The suspect was described as a white male, wearing a red bandanna or shirt tied around his face, armed with a grey-colored revolver. During the robbery, the suspect demanded money, lottery tickets, and cigarettes, and then fled the scene in a silver sedan, which the clerk describes as possibly a Toyota Corolla.
A BOLO (be on look out) was broadcast, at which time deputies learned that the Lakeland Police Department was also working an armed robbery that occurred just prior to this one, within the city of Lakeland, at a different Circle K store on Airport Road. The suspect matched the same description, and the car the suspect was driving was described as a Honda Civic.
Fifteen minutes later, LPD was called to a third robbery, within their jurisdiction at a store located on County Line Road, committed by the same suspect driving a Honda Civic.
Shortly thereafter, a Plant City Police Officer who heard the BOLO spotted the suspect (a white male with red covering his face) get into a silver Honda Civic on County Line Road and drive away. He followed the car, traveling east on Frontage Road South in Lakeland, notified Lakeland P.D., and activated his lights and siren. The officer saw the driver point a handgun at him and heard two shots being fired in his direction, as the car continued to flee. The car eventually lost control on the shoulder of Old Tampa Highway, and PCPD and LPD officers took Kenneth Allen Phelps, Jr. (DOB 04/14/1997) into custody without incident.
Inside the car, detectives investigating the robberies found cigarettes, lottery tickets, and a grey .22 caliber revolver, along with two spent shell casings. The evidence is being processed.
“We are all very grateful that nobody was shot by this dangerous felon during his armed robbery spree, and that the quick actions of law enforcement officers working together in Lakeland resulted in his swift apprehension. He belongs in prison. ” – Grady Judd, Sheriff
Phelps was charged by PCSO with:
- Armed robbery (F-L)
- Armed burglary with battery (F-L)
- Attempted second degree murder (F-1)
- Fleeing to elude (F-3)
Additional charges by other agencies are pending. His criminal history includes 2 felonies and 4 misdemeanors, for charges such as grand theft of a firearm, battery domestic violence, carrying a concealed firearm, petit theft, and violation of probation.