Masked man linked to 8 convenience store armed robberies

Woman seen shielding young child during one incident

By Erik Sandoval - Reporter

OCKLAWAHA, Fla. - A man detectives say is connected to at least eight armed robberies over the last six weeks was arrested Tuesday night shortly after allegedly committing another robbery, according to the Marion County Sheriff's Office.

Cornilious Bell, 37, was arrested Tuesday night after Ocala police said he robbed a Dollar General store within the city limits.

Prior to Tuesday night's arrest deputies said the latest robbery happened Saturday night at Ray's Grocery on Highway 314A.

Surveillance video obtained by News 6 shows a masked man pointing a gun at the store clerk, while a woman behind the counter picks up a small child, who was just feet away from the suspect.

Bell is charged with eight counts of armed robbery, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.

"It’s scary," said Datass Patel, who owns Ray's Grocery and Buck-N-Doe's store on Southeast Highway 42.

He said both of his stores were hit by the same masked suspect within days of each other.

At Buck-N-Does last Thursday, he said the robber ordered two customers down to the ground.

"He said, 'Sit down, sit down, sit down. Heads up, heads up, heads up,'" Patel said.

Marion County sheriff's investigators provided more surveillance video showing what appeared to be the same suspect robbing a Sunoco station in Ocala last Wednesday.

Bell is being held without bail at the Marion County Jail. Sheriff's Office officials said he is also facing charges from the Ocala Police Department.

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