Police say electronics store robberies are connected
DAVIE, Fla. (WSVN) -- Police said the armed robberies of two electronics stores within minutes of each other on Monday are connected.
Authorities said the armed gunman and getaway driver who targeted a Radio Shack and an AT&T store are also responsible for several similar robberies across South Florida. "At this time, we believe both robberies are connected," said Davie Police Capt. Dave Engle, "and we also believe that these individuals were involved in the string of robberies that have been happening throughout the tri-county area in electronics stores."
Just after 3 p.m. on Monday, AT&T store manager Manny Fombellida looked up from his desk when he heard loud voices coming from the lobby. "I got up, and as I'm walking I get greeted by a guy here with his face completely covered," he said, pointing to his office door. "He says, 'Turn around, get back inside and get down on the floor.' First, I thought it was a joke, and then I looked over his shoulder, and he's holding my employee by the collar, and he had a gun in his hands," he continued.
The crooks went straight to the safe of the store, which is located on the 5800 block of South University Drive, and got away with 32 high-end cell phones worth $16,000. "He took a couple of these," Fombellida said as he grabbed a display model of a smart phone. "These are about $600 retail each, took a couple of HTCs, those are about $400, $450." Fombellida indicated that the most expensive items the thieves took were iPhone 5 phones. "They're about $750 a pop, and we're talking about 14 of them," he said.
"They emptied our safe and they locked us into this bathroom, and when the guy came in here, he just told us to get down on the ground, slammed the door and [he said], if anyone came out he was gonna start shooting," Fombellida continued. The manager said the gunman sounded pretty nervous. "He sounded pretty scared. He was like, 'Listen, just go to the back room and get on the floor, relax. It will be over soon,'" said Fombellida.
About 25 minutes prior to this incident, another robbery had occurred at the Radio Shack on the 8900 block of West State Road 84 in Davie. Grainy surveillance video shows one armed gunman entering the store and announcing a holdup while his partner sat at the wheel of a black car.
Customers bolted out the front door, and two employees ran out the back exit. "We had an officer at the rear of the plaza who was flagged down by an employee of the Radio Shack, and we advised that officer that the Radio Shack was being robbed," said Engle. "Our officer responded and secured the area. A search ensued with negative results."
No one was injured in either robbery.
If you have any information on these robberies, call Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a reward.
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