for immediate release
February 11, 2003

N E W S  R E L E A S E

A suspect has been arrested in connection with two Armed Robberies of retail stores this week. The Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office arrested Christopher Patton Ross, age 31 (7-9-1971), of 3391 Scenic Highway 98, Destin, in connection with the robbery at the TJ Maxx store on Mary Esther Cutoff on Sunday afternoon (February 9). The Fort Walton Beach Police Department arrested Ross for the robbery the next day of the Walgreen's Drug Store, also on Mary Esther Cutoff.

Ross was developed as a possible suspect through an apparently unrelated theft case in Destin, reported on Monday. In that case, Ross, whose whereabouts at the time were unknown, was suspected of stealing a pickup truck and other property from members of his family, apparently to support a crack cocaine addiction. Ross was located late last evening (Monday evening), and arrested on charges of Auto Theft. In an investigation that extended into the early morning hours, Ross confessed to both the TJ Maxx and the Walgreen's robberies. He was also identified in photographic lineups by witnesses.

The investigation was a combined effort of the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office and the Fort Walton Beach Police Department.

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for more information contact Rick Hord, Public Information Officer

(850) 651-7420

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