Deputies believe Manatee County attempted armed robberies are linked

PALMETTO, Fla. (WWSB) - Deputies and officers say an attempted armed robbery at a Palmetto Publix is connected to the attempted armed robbery at a local Walmart on Tuesday night.

The first robbery happened Tuesday, at 4:30 p.m. at the Publix Supermarket at 1101 8th Avenue West in Palmetto. The suspect entered the store and approached the customer service counter, where he demanded that money be placed in a red bag that he was carrying. The suspect showed the attending employee a silver or stainless pistol.

As the employee reacted, the suspect turned and walked over to a nearby cash register. The suspect then hit the cashier on the head with the gun and ran out of the store. The suspect left empty handed. The first employee was not hurt and the second employee sustained an injury to her head where she was hit.

“We know these guys are violent. We know they have guns,” said Manatee County Sheriff’s Office PIO, Randy Warren

Warren says there was also an incident at the Family Dollar in Bradenton on 1508 32 Avenue East Bradenton.

Deputies say then another incident took place around 9:39 p.m. on Tuesday night at the Walmart off State Road 64.

“They were on a mission last night. And went from one store, to the next store, to the next store. And were very brazen about doing it,” said Warren

Deputies say an armed suspect attempted to rob the store and shot a store manager in the leg before fleeing the scene.

“Pretty early on we realized that we’re dealing with the same suspect. And of course there was the Walmart robbery several hours after that,” said Palmetto Chief of Police, Scott Tyler.

Palmetto police have released a surveillance photo of the man.

“Pretty early on we realized that we’re dealing with the same suspect. And of course there was the Walmart robbery several hours after that,” said Chief of Police Scott Tyler.

Persons with information about this crime or this suspect are asked to contact the Palmetto Police Department at 941-721-2000 or to contact the Manatee County Crime Stoppers at 1-866-634-TIPS (8477) or email www.manateecrimestoppers.com. Callers may remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward.

Both deputies and police say the two men are considered armed and dangerous and willing to shoot. They say they have a lot of people working to identify them and get them into custody.

As for the two victims, they’re both doing better and expected to recover.

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