Police arrest suspect in 2016 Starbucks robbery, bomb threat

Kenneth Trent handed 'bomb' note to barista

By Emilee Speck - Digital journalist

CASSELBERRY, Fla. - Casselberry police say they made an arrest Tuesday in a 2016 Starbucks robbery during which the suspect demanded cash and said he had a bomb. 

The business manager told police a man wearing a hat, sunglasses and a mask, walked into the State Road 436 location the morning of Sept. 14, 2016, and ordered a tall iced coffee. He sat at the Starbucks for a couple hours, before walking up to the counter again and proceeding to order nine drinks, according to the police report. While the barista was taking his order the suspect produced a note with writing on it that included the word "bomb," police said. 

"He was really nervous," Casselberry Police Detective Sgt. Jim Goodman said. 

The employee said the suspect told him to stay calm, open the cash drawer and hand him the money. The suspect then left Starbucks, according to the report. 

"The clerk he handed the note to was nervous and kicked another clerk which got the attention of the manager," Goodman said. "He saw he has the mask on [and] called police and then he [the suspect] fled the area."

More than a year and a half later, police said they have successfully identified the suspect as Kenneth Trent, 28, of Fern Park. 
 

"[Trent] couldn't believe because the case was a little bit older that we were actually arresting him on a case from so long ago," Goodman said.

Police said they were able to track down the suspect because employees said Trent had cuts on his fingers and discovered blood in the Starbucks bathroom. Last May, a Florida Department of Law Enforcement laboratory report matched the DNA in the blood to Trent, according to the report. 

"Once we got the hit from there, because we had a name, [detectives were] able to put the rest of it together," Goodman said. 

Trent's ex-girlfriend was able to identify him in surveillance photos wearing a Tampa Bay Ray's hat, police said, and cellphone records showed he made a phone call at the coffee shop. 

Police said Trent used the ride-sharing app Lyft  for a pickup after the alleged robbery. Lyft records showed that Trent was picked up next to the Starbucks in the Hometowne Studios parking lot, according to the report. 

"So many different factors that would lead us to not solve it if he hadn't left DNA behind and we got his phone number," Goodman said. 

Trent is charged with armed robbery, making a bomb threat, burglary and grand theft. 

Goodman tells News 6 his arrest is a big win for the agency, even though it took some time to build the case against Trent.

"Now our citizens are safe and that's what is most important to us," he said. 

A judge granted bail for the attempted robbery and bomb threat charges, but Trent is being held in the Seminole County jail without bond for violating his probation. Detectives called Trent a repeat offender, saying he was serving probation for a 2015 burglary case when he committed the crime and when he was arrested.

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