Pinellas County Sheriff's detectives are asking for the public's help identifying a suspect who smashed through a window and took 100 lottery tickets from a Dunedin convenience store on Jan. 29 and cashed them just hours later in Palm Harbor.
Detectives believe he may be connected to two previous robberies at the same store, including a Jan. 17 armed robbery, after which tickets were cashed at a Clearwater gas station.
Authorities say that on Jan. 29, a white male, about 6 feet tall and 165 pounds, wearing a gray hooded jacket, smashed the window to get inside Munchee's on Bayshore Boulevard at 5:57 a.m.
He allegedly went behind the counter, pulled about 100 scratch-off lottery tickets and took several packets of cigarettes. Detectives say he put the items in a garbage bag that he found behind the counter.
A few hours later, a male, who detectives believe to be the suspect, and an unidentified blonde female were caught on video surveillance cashing the winning lottery tickets 2 miles north at 7-Eleven, 100 Palm Harbor Blvd.
The male suspect is further described as having a medium build. His gray hooded jacket had red lining around the collar. He was also wearing a ball cap under the hood.
Pinellas County detectives report that a male suspect of the same description, but with a bandanna over his face, entered the same Munchee's late on Friday, Feb. 1, went behind the counter and order the clerk to open the register and safe.
The clerk complied, and the suspect fled with an undisclosed amount of cash and cigarette packs.
The suspect was wearing what appeared to be same gray jacket with hood and red lining around the collar.
Detectives believe he may also be the same suspect involved in an armed robbery at the Munchee's on Jan. 17.
A man carrying a handgun entered the Bayshore Boulevard store at about 8:30 p.m. and ordered cash from the register, scratch-off lottery tickets and spice products. He fled on foot, the sheriff's office reports.
Witnesses described the suspect in that robbery as 6 foot tall and 175 pounds male, wearing a black ski mask and dark colored jacket and dark gloves. The man's race is not determined.
Several days later, on Jan. 22, an unidentified blonde female cashed tickets stolen from the Munchee's at a Citgo Gas Station, 1301 Missouri Ave., Clearwater.
The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office's Investigative Operations Bureau, Robbery and Homicide Unit and Burglary and Pawn Unit are working on the case.
Neither the Jan. 15 armed robbery at the Union Street Munchee's nor a Jan. 19 robbery at Dodge Store in Clearwater is linked to the string of lotto ticket robberies at the Bayshore Boulevard Munchee's, authorities report.
Anyone with information that may assist in identifying the male suspect or any of the females seen cashing the stolen lottery tickets at area convenience stores, are asked to contact Detective Jeff Capra of the Robbery and Homicide Unit or Detective Holly Tsanakaliotis of the Burglary and Pawn Unit at 727-582-6200, or to remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers (a 24-hour tip line) at 1-800-873-TIPS (8477).