A string of recent store burglaries throughout Hillsborough County has deputies turning to the public for help in identifying suspects.
According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, a burglar or burglars has paid calls on 10 cell phone stores since July hoping to score fast cash. In all but two of the incidents, the burglaries were successful. The cases have been widespread, from Apollo Beach and Brandon to Carrollwood and the Westchase area.
The first burglary took place on July 23 when the Metro PCS store at 1430 Kingsway Road in Seffner was struck. Other incidents have followed.
“In all cases, the suspect utilized an object such as a hammer, rock or flower pot to break the business
window to gain entry,” a sheriff’s office media release said. “The suspects either exit out the back door of the store or back through the entry point. All but one of the burglaries occurred near midnight.”
A surveillance video has been released from an Aug. 3 break in at the Metro PCS at 6164 U.S. 41 N. in Apollo Beach. The suspect in that case is described as a white male between the age of 22 and 29. He is about 5 feet, 9 inches tall and 6 feet and weighs between 160 and 180 pounds. He has short hair with a widow’s peak and a medium build. The man also has a large hollow cross tattoo on his upper back.
“Detectives have not determined if all the burglaries have been committed by the same suspect that is seen in the surveillance video,” the release said. “After viewing some of the other surveillance videos, detectives believe that there could possibly be three individuals connected to the incidents as the physical descriptions vary.”
Other incidents have included:
- July 23 - Verizon Wireless, 3849 301 Highway S., Tampa
- July 24 - Verizon Wireless, 13166 301 Highway S., Riverview
- July 28 - Verizon Wireless, 13821 Hillsborough Ave. W., Tampa
- July 29 - Verizon Wireless, 11971 Sheldon Road, Tampa
July 30 - AT&T, 4803 Hillsborough Ave. W., Tampa (Attempt made to enter by smashing out the front window, but the glass remained in place and entry was not made, suspects fled.) This is a Tampa Police Department case.
- Aug. 2 - Metro PCS, 14815 Turner Road, Tampa
- Aug. 7 - Metro PCS, 6160 Gunn Highway, Tampa
- Aug. 8 - Metro PCS, B-11638 Dale Mabry Highway N., Tampa
Anyone with any information about the suspects or the cases is asked to call the sheriff’s office at 813-247-8200. Those who want to be eligible for a cash reward can call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-TIPS (8477), report anonymously online at www.crimestopperstb.com or text "CSTB plus your tip" to C-R-I-M-E-S (274637).