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Cops: Armed robber in Polk getting more violent

Posted at 5:29 PM, Apr 20, 2016

Four armed robberies in four days have police officers warning area convenience store clerks in eastern Polk County.

The latest robbery happened at the Marathon gas station in Haines City, where the gunman walked into the convenience store and pointed a gun at the three clerks working at the time.

"We thought he was kidding and we were shocked totally," said Abi Tho, one of the clerks who was there at the time.

The surveillance video even shows one of the clerks smiling at the man because he thought it was a joke.

They quickly found out it was no joke when the gunman opened fire.

"We were lucky. He missed us by inches," he said.

Tho showed ABC Action News the three bullet holes in the floor of the convenience store.

Haines City police believe the armed robber is the same one who hit three other convenience stores in Haines City, Kissimmee and Davenport.

In each case, he pulled out a gun, demanded cash, and took off. Police said he's gradually getting more violent.

"There's no telling what can happen," said Capt. Brian McNulty, Haines City police spokesman. "Thankfully nobody has been hurt yet. But the potential for that to happen is over the moon and through the roof."

Officers are now warning clerks at other gas stations and asking the community to help identify the man to get him off the streets.

In the latest case, the number of workers and even a customer inside spooked him. He left empty handed.

"It was his bad luck that we had three people here, and he got all confused and he left," Tho said.