72ºF

Deputies: ‘Career criminal' charged in robbery of elderly couple at St. Augustine motel

Lake City police arrest Ken Wilcox on unrelated drug charges after April robbery

Columbia County Sheriff's Office booking photo of Ken Wilcox (left) and Florida Department of Corrections photo of Ken Wilcox (right)
Columbia County Sheriff's Office booking photo of Ken Wilcox (left) and Florida Department of Corrections photo of Ken Wilcox (right)

A "career criminal" has been charged in the April robbery of an elderly couple at a St. Augustine motel, the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office announced Tuesday.

Ken Wilcox, 43, of Sanderson in Baker County, faces charges of robbery and two counts of battery on a person older than 65 after a South Florida couple reported a robbery April 29 at the Holiday Inn Express on State Road 16 at Interstate 95, deputies said. 

The victims, a 79-year-old man and 83-year-old woman, told deputies they had just parking their vehicle and were walking up to the rear door of the motel about 9:20 p.m. when a man came up to them, saying he was employed by the motel and was going to let them inside. 

The man then pushed the woman to ground, told the couple he had a gun and demanded anything of value, deputies said.

He then grabbed the woman's purse, jumped into a nearby SUV and drove off, investigators said. 

The woman was treated for minor injuries at a local hospital and released.

Detectives with the Sheriff's Office Major Crimes Unit said they obtained information identifying Wilcox as a person of interest, followed leads that took them to Baker and Columbia counties and obtained multiple search warrants for the SUV used in the robbery and Wilcox's cellphone. 

On Monday, detectives said, they obtained an arrest warrant on the St. Johns County charges for Wilcox, who is being held at the Columbia County Jail on unrelated drug charges.

Wilcox was arrested May 19 by Lake City police in Columbia County. He was booked into the Columbia County Jail without bond on drug charges and violation of probation. 

Authorities said Wilcox's arrest history dates back to 1990 as he served prison time for numerous charges, including possession and/or sale of cocaine, grand theft and carrying a concealed weapon. Wilcox was released in March from federal prison, where he served 10 years on four different armed bank robberies in 2005 and 2006. He's currently serving three years of federal probation. 

Wilcox will be brought to St. Johns County after the Columbia County case is resolved.