Off-Duty Officer Shoots Alleged Armed Robber

By: Sandra Osborne Email
By: Sandra Osborne Email

A local off-duty police officer found himself in a dangerous situation this weekend. He was meeting a man he found through Craigslist.com, to look at a computer.

When the man allegedly tried to rob him, the officer shot the man twice in self-defense.

Now investigators are spreading a word of caution to those using on-line web-sites to make purchases.

Investigators say Panama City Beach police officer Noel Howard turned to Craigslist, hoping to find someone selling his girlfriend's stolen Mac computer.

Bay County Sheriff's Investigators say Howard found someone selling a computer that looked like her's, and arranged to meet him at the Callaway Chase Townhome apartments off Highway 22.

"When he arrived at the apartment, he pulled in and got a bad feeling because the apartment looked abandoned,” said Major Tommy Ford of the Bay County Sheriff's Office.

As Howard was trying to leave, things took a turn for the worse.
Investigators say Antwan Bolware went straight for the officer, armed with a gun.

"The officer then began struggling with the suspect, who ran away and then came back at the officer and the officer drew his weapon and fired about seven shots," said Major Ford.

Two of those bullets hit Bolware in the leg. Officers arrested him later at the hospital.

Investigators say cases like this aren't uncommon, but there are some red flags to watch for.

"Sometimes if the deal is too good to be true, it's like some of the scams we see, it probably is. In other words, an item that is a ridiculously low price may be used to lure somebody in," said Ford.

Experts say you should conduct transactions in public places when buying from someone on-line that you don't know. Also bring a friend with you if possible, and tell others where you're going.

Howard was not injured. Bolware is charged with attempted armed robbery.

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