Man robbed Orlando dollar store at gunpoint, deputies say

Video shows robber jump counter, hold clerks at gunpoint

By Lisa Bell - Anchor

ORLANDO, Fla. - The Orange County Sheriff's Office is looking for a man who was caught on surveillance video robbing a dollar store at gunpoint.

Investigators said the man terrorized two clerks inside a Family Dollar store for nearly five minutes and got away with a large amount of cash.

The robbery happened shortly after 9 p.m. Monday at 2641 N. Hiawassee Road.  The store is located next to an Orange County Sheriff's Office Community Service Center, an office building regularly accessed by deputies.

On the surveillance video, the suspect is seen entering the store and jumping the counter. He then points a gun at an employee. She clears out a cash register then turns to a safe, but it doesn't open.

A sheriff's office spokeswoman said that safe can only be accessed at certain times.

On the video, the woman is then forced to her knees with her hands in the air. Investigators said at that point, she was in fear for her life.

Another clerk then appears on the video and opens a second register.

Finally, more than three minutes into the robbery, the safe opens. The suspect grabs even more cash and takes off.

"It's really scary because you don't want to lose your life over merchandise," said Devona Ruiz, who shops at the Family Dollar with her children. "You can replace those material things, you can't replace a human."

The store manager told Local 6 both employees were already scheduled to be off on Tuesday, but the clerk who had the gun pointed at her is so traumatized, she doesn't want to come back. The manager said they're now working to transfer her to another store and find counseling.

Orange County Sheriff spokeswoman Jane Watrel said it is extremely unusual for an armed robbery to last nearly five minutes. She said investigators also find it strange that no one else tried to enter the store during that time, which is normally very busy.

Watrel said it's possible an accomplice may have prevented people from entering the store during that time. Detectives checked with nearby businesses to see if there was any additional video of the store's exterior, but could not find any.

The suspect is described as a light-skinned black man in his 20s who is about 5 foot 5 inches tall with a medium build. If you can help investigators identify him, call Crimeline at 1-800-423-TIPS.

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