Bridal store robbed at knifepoint in Lehigh Acres

Posted at 7:28 AM, Jun 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-10 07:28:05-04

LEE COUNTY, Fla. -- Police looking for a bridal shop bandit, a man who held 3 women at knife-point.  He then robbed the shop owner and it was all caught on camera.

It happened at Maria’s Bridal Shop on Lee Boulevard in Lehigh Acres Thursday.  “He caught my attention by saying 'I’m sorry ma'am that I have to do this to you, but I need your money.'  And I thought he was joking around,” says Rosie Cortes.

Surveillance cameras rolling as a mother and her teenage daughter got pinned between the shop owner and the bridal bandit.

With a handkerchief pulled over his face, he robbed the shop owner’s daughter.  “He pulled out his knife and said 'give me all your money.'”

Video shows the two customers cowering in a corner, trembling in fear, appearing to pray for their very lives.  Meanwhile, the shop owner does whatever the man tells her to.  "He told me to sit down and put my head down and he told my customers to get on the floor and sit down.  And he said when he leaves not to scream and not to look at him.”

The customers were there to plan a quinceañera, a Latino celebration of a 15 year old girl’s birthday.  But the happy occasion turned into a nightmare instead.

When it was done, Cortes called her mother to report what had just happened.

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene, and deputies fingerprinted all three women inside, even taking their DNA.

“The customers were crying and were shaken up,. I was crying and shaken up as well,” says Cortes.

Maria riveros:

“I’m just glad she’s okay and the customers are okay," says Maria Riveros.  “He’s not going to make it with a couple of hundred dollars, he’s going to go and do it to somebody else.”

Authorities hope you can recognize the man in images seen here. The suspect is described as 5’7” to 5’9”, approximately 150 pounds, with blue eyes and tattoos on his forearm.  He appeared to be wearing a Sherwin Williams t-shirt at the time.

Anyone with information on the identity and whereabouts of the suspect is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS (8477).  All callers will remain anonymous and will be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000.  Tips may also be made online at or by texting a tip to CRIMES (274637) Keyword: REWARD.