Crime

Former UK football player suspected in two Ky. robberies after being charged in Fla.

Chad Merida
Chad Merida

A former University of Kentucky football player has been identified as a suspect in two armed robberies in Laurel County, according to a news release from Sheriff John Root's office.

Chad Michael Merida, 22, who joined the team as a walk-on in the spring of 2012, was named as a suspect after he was charged with robbing a bank in Tampa, Fla., on Nov. 24, according to the release.

Fingerprints retrieved while investigating the Oct. 25 robbery of a Dollar General store in London matched those taken of Merida after he was arrested in Florida, Root's release said.

Merida also is a suspect in the Nov. 6 robbery of a Game Stop store in London. In both Laurel County robberies, a lone man armed with a gun demanded cash from clerks.

Root's release said Merida had recently moved from Kentucky to Florida.

Police will seek grand-jury indictments against Merida in the two Laurel County cases, according to the release.

After he was arrested, Merida admitted robbing gas stations in Plant City, Fla., as well as other robberies in Florida, Root's office said.

According to UK sports information spokesman Tony Neely, Merida played in a Blue/White game but left in the fall of 2012 without playing in a real game.

An undated bio on the UK Athletics website says Merida rushed for 1,800 yards and seven touchdowns as a senior at Knox County High School, where he graduated in 2010 before joining the Army.

Merida had reportedly recently been medically discharged from the Army.

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