JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A shirtless man accused of robbing three Jacksonville convenience stores early Thursday morning was arrested later that same day, authorities said.
George Keene Jr. was taken into custody Thursday afternoon on Richard Road in Middleburg, the Clay County Sheriff's Office said.
Bond was set at $200,000 Friday morning for Keene, who will have his next court appearance Nov. 23.
Keene, 49, faces two counts of strong arm robbery. He was booked Thursday evening into the Duval County Jail.
According to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, Keene robbed three stores in a span of four hours:
- Kangaroo gas station at 9901 New Kings Road at 2:16 a.m.
- Gate gas station at 10980 New Kings Road at 4:43 a.m.
- Speedway gas station at 8346 Normandy Blvd. at 6:30 a.m.
In the first robbery, the report says Keene went behind the register, put his finger to the clerk's hip, and told her to open it. He then left after getting cash.
In the Speedway robbery, the report says Keene threatened the clerk and made off with money, a can of coke and cigarettes.
Police said Keene was driving a dark-colored Ford truck with a missing front bumper, damage to the right front side and toolboxes on both sides on the bed of the truck.
Keene's arrest came after his friend, who did not wish to be identified, said she called deputies because she recognized him in surveillance images on the news.
The woman told News4Jax that Keene called her to ask for money after the robberies occurred. She said she told Keene that he should turn himself in before things got worse. Then, the woman said Keene came to her house, asking for money again.
She said she was very scared, and wasn't sure what he was going to do, so that's when she alerted law enforcement.
"It's also difficult knowing I have children, and I didn't want no one to get hurt. I don't want no bad stuff to happen to nobody. In this world, you can't trust nobody, not even your own family. I just pray anyone that's on drugs or been to prison, go get help," the woman said.
According to Duval County court records, Keene is a registered sex offender who has been arrested multiple times, dating back to 1989, and he was on probation from a previous conviction when he was arrested Thursday.
Keene was arrested on charges of robbery, sexual battery and false imprisonment in 2005, a charge of aggravated battery on a pregnant female in 2004, battery and disorderly conduct charges in 2000, a charge of child abuse in 1996 and drug charges in 1989, court records show.
He served less than a year in prison in 1990 on cocaine possession charges. In 2006, he pleaded guilty to sexual battery in connection with the robbery of a business. He served eight years in prison and was released in June 2014, placed on three years' probation as a sex offender. Four months after his release, he was arrested for violating his probation, and he went back to prison until September 2015.
The woman said it was extremely difficult for her to turn Keene in because she cares about his well-being, but also did not want to see anyone get hurt.
"He was doing good for a while," she said. "He was working, making decent money and then he lost his job due to conflict and stuff and when the pressure hit."