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Documents: The ice cream man was unravelling

July 1, 2011

TAMPA —After masked robbers shot the ice cream man for $12, Michael Edward Keetley hired a felon bodyguard to ride in his truck with a gun.

That’s according to the bodyguard, David Beckwith, who told detectives Keetley was on a mission: Pose as a cop, find his shooters and “make ’em disappear.”

One summer day, the bodyguard saw Keetley turn his investigation to a girl buying ice cream; Keetley thought she looked like a woman involved in the robbery. The bodyguard watched Keetley ask the girl, who was about 13, if she had a sister.

Keetley wanted to see a picture. The girl resisted, but Keetley became irate, impatient.

“He had her almost in tears when she finally took out her wallet and showed a picture,” Beckwith told detectives.

“And Mike goes, ‘Oh, that’s not the girl.’ ”

The ice cream man was unravelling, witnesses would tell detectives. Intent on vigilante justice…

(collaboration with Jodie Tillman and Tia Mitchell)

Initial arrest story.

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