Thief holds couple at gunpoint inside home, gets away with cash, valuables

Pinellas Co. deputies searching for suspect
Posted at 11:11 PM, Jan 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-12 02:20:53-05

The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office is searching for a man they say forced his way into a couple's home, holding them at gunpoint while he robbed the house. 

Deputies responded to a house on Oak Avenue North in unincorporated Seminole around 3:45 p.m. Wednesday. 

According to deputies, the home invasion robbery took place after 72-year-old Robert Martin returned home from the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tampa. 

Someone knocked on the front door, Martin and his wife answered and found a man holding a black revolver. The suspect forced his way into the home, threatening both victims, according to PCSO. 

Martin reportedly grabbed the barrel of the gun during a struggle with the robber and it went off, but no one was hit. 

According to deputies, the suspect regained control of his handgun and demanded cash and other valuables. 

Deputies say the suspect forced both victims into a bedroom and made them get on the ground before he got away. 

“I just hope and pray they’re going to be alright," said Roslyn Beckoff, the victims' neighbor. "It’s very scary because this is a wonderful neighborhood here. We have not had any problems.”

Another neighbor, Amber Parker, told ABC Action News that she now fears for her family, as deputies search for the armed suspect. 

“We’re pretty terrified over here because we just moved to this area because it’s a really safe neighborhood and a really tight community," said Parker. 

The suspect is described as a white male, around 20-years-old, tall, slender build, wearing all black clothing, and clear glasses. 

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office at (727) 582-6200.