PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. -- Deputies have arrested 3 men they believe are connected to a series of armed robberies at Pinellas County gas stations on Sunday night.
Deputies say the men are connected to at least three gas station robberies.
According to detectives, two suspects entered the Citgo gas station at 8195 Ulmerton Rd. at approximately 10:50 p.m. on Saturday, December 2. The suspects appeared to be armed with a black semi-automatic handgun. Deputies say the suspects demanded money from the clerk and then ran from the gas station with an undisclosed amount of money. The two suspects left in a car with a third suspect. The suspects were reportedly involved in another armed robbery at the Speedway at 11708 Seminole Boulevard and the Circle K Gas Station at 3170 Tampa Road in Oldsmar.
Deputies say they observed the vehicle matching the description of the suspect vehicle from the Citgo robbery. Deputies followed the suspect vehicle with the help of the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office helicopter until deputies engaged the vehicle and the suspects abandoned the car and ran in the unincorporated Largo area. K-9 deputies located the man, 24-year-old James France hiding in the backyard of a Largo residence.
A K-9 officer bit France after he refused to comply with deputies. France was transported to the hospital with a minor injury. After he was released from the hospital, France was charged with loitering, prowling and resisting arrest without violence. Deputies say additional charges are possible.
Deputies identified one of the armed robbery suspects as 24-year-old Roderick Greene through various investigative techniques. Detectives say Greene was responsible for the robberies in Largo and Oldsmar.
On Monday, December 4, Greene was arrested for multiple counts of armed robbery. Pinellas detectives charged Greene with three counts of armed robbery.
Greene was booked into the Pinellas County Jail.
Willie Cunningham, 23, was arrested late Monday night and charged with two counts of armed robbery. He was booked into the Pinellas County Jail and his bond is set at $100,000.
It was a scary ordeal for nearby residents in Palm Village Trailer Park who were told to lock their doors and stay inside while deputies searched for the armed robbers Sunday.
Nearby business owners, like Jesse Byer, were also concerned and fearful. “They’re coming after little guys just trying to make a living.”
Byer recently added dozens of security cameras around his store and a panic button that automatically notifies police when there’s trouble. "It's just the world we live in. It’s a scary place.”
One store clerk tells us the crooks got away with just $140 bucks.
"The idea that someone for some chicken scratch would be willing to threaten the life of someone is ridiculous," Byer added.
Investigators have connected the men with two robberies in Largo and one in Oldsmar, and they’re looking into any other connections to other robberies.