Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Police blame men with assault rifle for string of St. Petersburg robberies

ST. PETERSBURG — Two men with an assault rifle committed six robberies in less than an hour Tuesday morning, police said.

The men, who remain at large, used two stolen cars — a white sedan and a maroon minivan — to move quickly from victim to victim, police said.

The pair used the AK-47-style weapon to threaten a 15-year-old girl and her grandmother, two individuals on their way to the hospital, two juveniles, a vendor and a barbershop owner and his son, police said.

A man doing laundry in his garage was shot in the ankle when he tried to grab the gun from one of the men, police said.

Police said the incidents all happened between 5:11 a.m. and 6:02 a.m.

The first robbery took place near 20th Avenue S and Seventh Street. The victims, who were leaving home to go to the hospital, said two men got out of a white Mercury Sable and demanded money. When they told the men they didn't have anything on them, one of the suspects tapped the other on the shoulder and they left, police said.

They drove down a block to 19th Avenue S, where a 15-year-old and her grandmother were at the Frank Pierce bus station waiting for a school bus. The girl and her grandmother told police that one of the men, wearing a black bandanna over his face, approached them with an assault rifle and demanded their belongings.

The elderly woman gave them her purse; the girl, her backpack full of school books, police said. The two men got back in the car and sped off.

Minutes later, the gunmen approached a man who was doing laundry and smoking a cigarette in his garage at 4530 Fourth St. S, police said.

The door was open. One of the men walked in, pointed the gun at the victim and ordered him to take off his pants, police said. As the man pulled his pants down, police said, the gunman began to lower the rifle. The victim dived for the gun and grabbed the barrel. He was shot in the left ankle.

The gunman ran to a maroon minivan waiting for him, police said.

The two then drove to 18th Avenue S and 49th Street, where schoolchildren were walking. The juveniles said they ran away after two or more men exited the minivan with a gun.

The next report came in from the Mystic Gas Station, at 1501 34th St. S, where a vendor said he got out of his vehicle and saw a maroon minivan pull into the gas station. The vendor told police that as he approached the front door, a man with an assault rifle approached him and demanded his wallet. When he questioned the gunman, police said, the suspect fired one round in the man's direction.

Although the bullet did not hit anyone, it blew through the rollup front door of the business, police said. That's when the victim threw his wallet to the ground. The gunman collected the wallet and drove away.

Finally, police said, the two men made their way to Sports Cuts Barber Shop, 3166 18th Ave. S. The owner and his son were approached by two men with what they described as AK-47 rifles, police said. The gunmen ordered the father to take his pants off and hand over his wallet, which contained cash, IDs and credit cards. The two men left in the maroon minivan, police said.

Police have found the two stolen vehicles used in the crimes.

Officials have released only a general description of the men: Both are black and thought to be in their early 20s.

Police blame men with assault rifle for string of St. Petersburg robberies 10/26/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 26, 2011 10:44pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Jones: Bucs need success to get national respect


    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the world of sports.

    No respect

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  2. Hopes fade after landslide destroys Chinese village (w/video)


    Crews searching through the night in the rubble left by a landslide that buried a mountain village under tons of soil and rocks in southwestern China found 15 bodies, but more than 110 more people remained missing.

    Vehicles and people line a road leading to the site of a landslide in Xinmo village in Mao County on Saturday in southwestern China’s Sichuan Province. More than 100 people remained missing after the village was buried under tons of rocks and soil.
  3. Rookie Jake Faria dissatisfied with performance in Rays' loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The rookie pitcher walked to his locker Saturday after tossing the fourth quality start in as many tries to begin his career. He held the potent Orioles bats to three runs and for six innings gave his team a chance to win.

    Orioles third baseman Manny Machado tags out the Rays’ Mallex Smith at third after a rundown in the first inning.
  4. Thousands converge in two St. Pete locations celebrating LGBT rights

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tom Rockhill didn't know what to expect Saturday, but by noon people were knocking on the door of his bar Right Around the Corner in Grand Central.

    (From left to right) Emma Chalut 18, gets a rainbow sticker on her cheek from her sister Ellie, 15 both of Jacksonville before the annual St. Pete Pride parade in downtown St. Petersburg on Saturday. This year the route was changed from the Grand Central and Kenwood area to Bayshore Drive.
[EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  5. Retired Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald dies

    TALLAHASSEE — A former Florida Supreme Court justice, who wrote a decision that prevented lawyers from excluding jurors because of their race, has died.

    Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald died Saturday, the court said in a statement. He was 93.