1. Archive


Armed, they've worn child safety seats and sinks on their heads.

Whatever happened to ski masks?

Detectives are searching for a group of robbers with a flair for costuming, according to a release from the Tampa Police Department.

The men have stormed into three north Tampa pawnshops in the last three weeks with creative masks. In one case, one of them was wearing a child safety seat on his head. They've also donned hospital scrubs, and in another case they wore beautician's hair-washing sinks on their heads.

Police say the robberies could be the same group because of the use of props in each case.

According to reports, the most recent robbery on Tuesday at the Cash America Pawn Shop on 5913 N Armenia Ave., went this way:

Three robbers came into the store wearing hospital scrubs, with one of them pointing a semiautomatic pistol.

Employees were ordered to empty cash boxes and jewelry cabinets while customers were forced onto the floor. Then the employees were pushed into another part of the store so the robbers could make off with "high dollar items."

Then all three left the store in a stolen vehicle that was found several blocks away.

The two other robberies, Value Pawn at 5401 N 40th on Aug. 25 and EZ Pawn at 4910 E Busch Blvd. on Aug. 31, followed the same pattern, police say.

While the costumes bring a sense of humor to the crime, police say the robberies are no laughing matter.

"The first thing you think is 'That's funny,'" said Andrea Davis, a spokeswoman for the police. "But in reality, this is a violent crime, and there's nothing funny about it to the victims."

If you have any information or recognize your car seat or beautician's sinks, please call the Tampa police at (813) 231-6130 or Crime Stoppers toll-free at 1-800-873-8477.