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Press Release

Armored Truck Robber Sentenced To Ten Years In Federal Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Florida

Tampa, FL – U.S. District Judge Thomas P. Barber has sentenced James Battle, Jr. (29, Palm Harbor) to 10 years in federal prison for Hobbs Act robbery and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to the robbery. Battle entered a guilty plea on January 22, 2024.   

According to court documents, on the morning of June 9, 2023, Battle and Carlos Keanu Smith met for the purposes of robbing an armored truck. They followed the armored truck along its route from Pinellas County to eastern Hillsborough County before eventually reaching a gas station in Ellenton. Toll records from the Florida Department of Transportation show Battle’s vehicle following seconds behind the targeted armored truck that morning. Surveillance video showed the vehicle also following the armored truck to other locations before conducting the robbery at the gas station in Ellenton when the driver returned to his vehicle. Battle and Smith approached the victim with pistols pointed at him, forcing him to the ground. They stole more than $150,000 from the armored truck.

Smith pleaded guilty on December 14, 2023. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for July 25, 2024. 

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael R. Kenneth. The forfeiture is being handled by Assistant United States Attorney James A. 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 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.

Updated May 15, 2024

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Firearms Offenses
Violent Crime