Armed Robbery at Flagler Beach Publix: Police Seeking Help Looking For Middle-Age Suspect
FlaglerLive | October 6, 2015
Flagler Beach police are seeking the public’s help in locating an armed robber who showed his gun to a young employee during the lunch hour Monday and got away with “a large sum of cash” from the Publix store in Flagler Beach, according to police.
He was brazen, if studied: the armed robber first appeared in front of Publix, off State Road 100, just after noon Monday, a time when lunchtime shoppers crowd at deli counters and in cashiers’ lines, and when nearby stores and restaurants tend to their lunchtime clientele.
Video surveillance caught sight of him. He paced along the front of the store as if to scout the place. He entered and exited the store several times. At 12:33, some 19 minutes after his first appearance, he entered again and paced in the front vestibule area, then swings his arms “appearing to try to build himself for the act he is about to commit,” according to an incident report. A minute later, he enters the store again and heads for the customer service area.
An employee whose age and sex was redacted (improperly) from the Flagler Beach police report seeks to help him. The video shows the suspect raising his shirt to expose his waistband. “You see a black object consistent with the size and shape of a semi-automatic handgun,” the report states. The suspect is covering his mouth as he speaks to the employee, the way coaches and professional athletes on live television do when they’re seeking to keep the cameras from picking up their lip movements.The employee would later tell police that the suspect was demanding money from the register and demanding that the money be placed in a plastic bag. He is seen in the video placing the bag on the counter. The employee, following the company’s training in such instances, complies. The man leaves the store at 12:35 p.m., leaving the employee “extremely upset and shaken.”
Outside, a camera caught the suspect making going to his right as he exits the store—that is, west, toward Palm Coast—and sprinting out of camera view. A witness at the Hi-Tulip Café—a resident of Palm Coast—told police that while sitting outside he saw the man fitting the description of the suspect turn and run north along the side of the building, to the area behind the store. The suspect appeared out of break and distressed, according to the 39-year-old witness. The witness lost sight of the suspect.
It’s not certain whether the suspect continued on foot or by car as no surveillance cameras cover the entire back end of the store, but likely he left by car: there is a camera at the loading deck area. That camera shows “a vehicle leaving the area at a high rate of speed from the area that the suspect was running from,” the incident report states. The time stamp of that footage is 12:37 p.m. The footage shows “what appears to be a white SUV, possibly an older model Jeep Cherokee or Laredo model” speed past the loading dock.
The Flagler Beach police and Flagler County Sheriff’s deputies set up a perimeter and used a K-9 unit in the area, but to no avail.
Flagler Beach police describe the suspect, based on video footage, as between 40 and 50 years old, white, wearing a gray shirt, plaid shorts, a dark hat and black sunglasses. He is not in shape, sporting a potbelly.
Late the evening of Jan. 21, the Publix at Town Center in Palm Coast was the target of a robbery–by a man claiming to be dying of AIDS. The man had his hand in a coat pocket and implied he was armed. He had a dark complexion and had a thinner build than the latest Publix robber.
Anyone with information about the robbery should contact Flagler Beach Detective Liz Williams at 386/517-2023. Callers wishing to remain anonymous may also call 1-888-277-TIPS (8477). Anonymous information may also be sent via text and online forms to the Flagler Beach Police Department via the Crime Stoppers website. Tipsters may be eligible for a reward up to $1,000.