Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

St. Petersburg police need help to nab robbers

ST. PETERSBURG — Police need help from the public and the media to capture the pair of gunmen who shot and robbed two brothers this week.

Police released surveillance videos of the shootings of Narendra and Indravadan Patel. Police hope publicity surrounding the separate attacks will result in leads and suspects.

But police have also kept other aspects of their operations — specific details of the crimes, what they're doing to find the shooters, how they're protecting convenience stores — to themselves to avoid tipping off the suspects.

Here is what police did say:

There are 10 detectives assigned to the case, from the homicide and robbery units investigating leads.

"We're talking to people in the surrounding areas who may have seen someone loitering in the area," said Maj. Michael Puetz. "In most cases the suspects have some degree of familiarity with the environment they're working."

Those detectives are sharing what they know with other agencies, Puetz said, to see if anyone else has "a piece of the puzzle."

St. Petersburg investigators have been talking to their Hillsborough counterparts about several violent robberies there, but no links have been made yet.

Forensic teams worked both crime scenes. Gloves were used in both robberies, but the gunmen could have still left traces of themselves at the crime scenes.

Masks were worn in both robberies, too — but that doesn't automatically render the gunmen completely unrecognizable.

"People will display characteristics that may make them identifiable to people who know them well," Puetz said.

Police described the pair of gunmen in each robbery as black men, both in their early 20s or younger, about 6 feet 2 and 190 pounds. In each case, one stood lookout while the other attacked the owner.

Narendra Patel was shot and robbed Monday at his store on Fifth Ave. N but has since been released from the hospital. Indravadan Patel, who was shot Wednesday in his store at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. N, remains in critical condition. But his family said Friday that he appeared to be improving.

By publicizing the attacks and videos, police hope the level of violence will motivate the public to help.

Sometimes such violence can even spur someone close to the perpetrators to come forward, like someone who sees a young relative out of control.

Police hope the publicity will help solve the case, but they acknowledge it could lead them to go into hiding or even escalate their crimes. "They might think they're heading down the wrong path, that they might get caught," Puetz said. "But other people …they like the attention."

Jamal Thalji can be reached at or (727) 893-8472.

Fast Facts

Got a tip?

Anyone with information about the robberies is asked to call the St. Petersburg Police Department's homicide unit at (727) 893-7164 or call (727) 893-7780.

On the Web

To see surveillance camera video of the second shooting, go to

St. Petersburg police need help to nab robbers 12/05/08 [Last modified: Sunday, December 7, 2008 9:48am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Controversial landfill site could be rechristened as industrial recruiting land in Pasco

    Economic Development

    The east Pasco property of Angelo's Aggregate Materials, which failed to obtain a state environmental permit to be developed as a garbage landfill, is being studied as a potential 1,000-acre mega site for industrial recruitment.

  2. Joe Henderson: At son's wedding, memories of child-rearing build to a perfect moment


    On a secluded beach known as Hawksnest on St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands, a bride-to-be named Heather McNeill hurried along a wooded path to meet the man she was about to marry.

    Heather McNeill married fellow Strawberry Crest High teacher Ben Henderson on a secluded beach in the U.S. Virgin Islands. "They wanted something totally theirs," says Ben's dad Joe Henderson. "I think they had their parents in mind, as well." [Courtesy of Henderson family]
  3. Forecast: Near record-high temperatures, minimal rain in store for Tampa Bay


    Tampa Bay residents can expect a significantly hot Wednesday — possibly record-breaking — and a small chance of pop up showers.

    Tampa Bay's 7 day forecast. [WTSP]
  4. Marriott opening new hotel on Clearwater Beach


    CLEARWATER BEACH — A dual-branded Marriott hotel with a tongue-twister name is opening on Clearwater Beach in August. The Residence Inn Tampa Clearwater Beach and SpringHill Suites Tampa Clearwater Beach will have 255 suites total, connected by a lobby.

    A dual-branded Marriott hotel called the Residence Inn Tampa Clearwater Beach and SpringHill Suites Tampa Clearwater Beach will open in August in Clearwater Beach. Pictured is a rendering.
[Courtesy of Hayworth PR]