Masked man robs woman at Publix

Posted at 6:45 PM, Apr 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-07 18:45:47-04

ENGLEWOOD, Fla. — Charlotte County deputies are looking for a man they say robbed a woman at gunpoint inside a Publix in Englewood Monday night.
They say he was wearing a makeshift mask, sunglasses and a baseball cap.

But everyone is wearing a face mask these days, to slow the spread of COVID-19. That’s why shoppers like Nikki McKay say detectives have their work cut out for them.

“We were always told, don’t wear glasses or masks in banks, or stores. Now, all of a sudden it’s okay?! You could get away with murder now-a-days,” she said.

Deputies say it happened at the Publix on Placida Rd around 6:00 p.m. Monday evening. They say the suspect’s in his 50’s with a non-english accent. In addition to the face mask, sunglasses and cap, detectives say the suspect wore a sleeveless t-shirt that says, “Livin’ the Life”.

Retired New Jersey Police Chief Walt Zalsko says there may even be an uptick in crimes like these with millions of Americans losing their jobs. He suggests stores give greeters another responsibility.

“If they observe someone coming in with sunglasses, a hat and a mask, [they should say] ‘can you kindly remove your sunglasses and your hat,’” he said.

Trish Routte with Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers says it sounds like a good idea, but it’s not practical with so much traffic in and out of stores. She did say customers should stay vigilant as they shop

“If someone is walking around your acting a little skittish, and you just get that feeling that something is off about them, tell a manager,” she said.

No one was hurt during the robbery. Routte suggested keeping six feet of distance between other shoppers. She also says the suspect might live in the area. So, if you have any information, call SWFL Crime Stoppers or Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office.