Hillsborough County Sheriff’s deputies are looking for some help to identify a suspect wanted in connection with seven armed restaurant robberies in three different counties, including a Pizza Hut in the Clearwater/Largo area nearly two months ago.
The spree began in September as a single armed robbery at a Gunn Highway Papa John’s. It has since grown to include a number of robberies in Hillsborough County, the Pizza Hut in Pinellas and one in Hernando. The suspect has only targeted pizza and fast-food restaurants to date.
The man wanted in connection with the crimes is described as a black male between the age of 22 and 35. He is about 150 to 180 pounds and stands between 5-foot-5 and 5-foot-11. He wears a black ski mask during the robberies and a long sleeve black sweatshirt, according to deputies.
So far, the sheriff’s office has only been able to capture his image in a few surveillance photos.
The man has struck seven restaurants since Sept. 23, deputies say.
In mid-October, deputies connected the suspect to five robberies in two counties. He has since been connected with a Sept. 27 robbery in Hernando County and most recently a Nov. 1 robbery in Tampa.
In each incident, he broke a window of a closed business with a brick to get inside. Once in, the armed man approached employees to demand money. After receiving cash, the suspect fled without incident in each case.
The man is wanted in connection with these robberies:
- Papa John’s Pizza, 7891 Gunn Highway in Tampa on Sept. 23
- Pizza Hut, 4535 East Bay Drive in Clearwater on Sept. 25
- Domino’s Pizza, 13081 Spring Hill Drive in Hernando on Sept. 27
- Pizza Hut, 902 W. Busch Blvd. in Tampa on Oct. 7
- Wendy’s Restaurant, 13712 Bruce B. Downs Blvd. in Tampa on Oct. 14
- Pizza Hut, 17420 U.S. Highway 41 North in Lutz on Oct. 16
- Burger King, 4103 Hillsborough Ave. W. in Tampa on Nov. 1
The surveillance photos were captured during the Tampa Wendy’s robbery.
Anyone with information about the suspect or the robberies is asked to call the sheriff’s office at 813-247-8200. To be eligible for a cash reward, tipsters should call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-TIPS (8477). Tips may also be reported anonymously online at www.crimestopperstb.com or by texting "CSTB plus your tip" to C-R-I-M-E-S (274637).