TAMPA — A rash of 7-Eleven robberies across three counties may have been committed by the same group, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.
The robberies may have begun in Pasco County on May 11 at the All About You Hair Salon at 5440 James St. in Port Richey, deputies said.
That robbery was similar to four 7-Eleven robberies that have occurred since Wednesday in Pinellas, Pasco and Hillsborough.
"The detectives met with evidence collected at the scene, (and) evidence videos," said Deputy Larry McKinnon, a spokesman for the Hillsborough Sheriff's Office. "With that totality of information, they started comparing notes and determined it was the same group hitting these places throughout several jurisdictions."
Four people wearing black T-shirts with masks or T-shirts covering their faces and semiautomatic pistols walked into a 7-Eleven at 9817 S Highway 301 in Gibsonton at 12:14 a.m. Wednesday.
They threatened the clerks with guns, took money and lottery tickets, then ran away. Fourteen minutes later they repeated the routine at another 7-Eleven at 7711 Causeway Blvd. in Tampa.
Later, on Wednesday night, four men wearing masks approached a store clerk outside a 7-Eleven in Pasco, at 2144 Corporate Center Drive in Odessa, and forced him back into the store at gunpoint.
Pasco sheriff's deputies said two of the robbers demanded the cash from the registers while the other two went to the rear of the business and demanded money from the store manager at gunpoint.
The robbers fled in a silver vehicle, possibly a Dodge Intrepid, with an undisclosed amount of money and cartons of cigarettes.
No one was hurt in any of the robberies.
McKinnon said the execution of the Hillsborough and Pasco robberies matched a Pinellas County robbery Monday night at a 7-Eleven at 6980 40th St. N in Pinellas Park.
Anyone with information about the case may contact the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office at (813) 247-8200, the Pasco Sheriff's Office at (727) 844-7711 or Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay at 1(800) 873-8477.