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The Shawnee News-Star
  • Shawnee man jailed on Florida warrants

  • A Shawnee man identifying himself as pastor of an online ministry and working with tornado relief efforts has been arrested on probation violation warrants involving a Florida kidnapping case and is now jailed awaiting extradition, deputies said Wednesday.
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    A Shawnee man identifying himself as pastor of an online ministry and working with tornado relief efforts has been arrested on probation violation warrants involving a Florida kidnapping case and is now jailed awaiting extradition, deputies said Wednesday.
    Pottawatomie County Sheriff Mike Booth said Thomas Hughie Baxter Jr., 35, also known as “Pastor Tommy,” is jailed in the Pottawatomie County Public Safety Center without bond. He is being held for probation violation warrants from Pasco County, Florida on cases involving aggravated battery and kidnapping, Booth said, with Florida officials planning to extradite Baxter back to Florida.
    The Pottawatomie County Sheriff’s warrant team, assisted by Shawnee police, arrested Baxter in the parking lot of Shawnee Mall, Booth said.
    Baxter has been seen helping with tornado relief efforts, Booth said, and also was allegedly soliciting monetary donations for tornado victims.
    Known by several as Pastor Tommy, Baxter is part of an online ministry, Booth said. Online posts, including a photo of him and officials out at the Expo Center, enabled deputies to validate his identity as being the same man wanted out of Florida, Booth said.
    While the arrest was for the outstanding warrants, Booth said Baxter started a benefit account locally to solicit donations for tornado victims, and it was suspicions reported about that account that prompted further investigation.
    Deputies then discovered the warrants and learned Baxter spent 10 years in a Florida prison, he said. According the Florida Department of Corrections, Baxter was incarcerated in 2000 and was released in May 2010.
    Booth, who said he doesn’t know how much money was raised for Baxter’s tornado benefit account, said that account has been frozen as part of the investigation; formal charges have not been filed regarding that matter.
    “We’re still looking into it and are in touch with the district attorney’s office,” Booth said.
    Watch for any updates.
     
     

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