|Published:||Mar 29, 2012 9:37 PM EDT|
|Updated:||Mar 29, 2012 11:12 PM EDT|
ESTERO, Fla.- Lee County Sheriff's Office is confirming a connection between two robberies at Estero's Miromar Outlets.
The two robberies were spaced out between nine days. Both victims are female shoppers who were talking on their cell phones.
The most recent robbery happened on Wednesday around 7:15, outside a restroom near Miromar's Reebok outlet. Both victims wish to remain anonymous.
"I walked out of the bathroom and there was a kid standing there. He just looked at me and grabbed my cell phone. I got mad and tried to get it and then he put a gun to my head," the most recent victim said Thursday.
The woman, who's visiting from out-of-state, fought back.
"I tried to overpower him and then I realized there was another kid with a gun behind him, pointing the gun at me, and there was a third kid behind him," she said.
The three allegedly grabbed her phone and purse and bolted in a getaway car. They were caught nearby at Florida Gulf Coast University. FGCU confirms the three are not students.
WINK News is choosing not to name the suspects because they're underage.
On March 19th, a similar incident unfolded at the outdoor outlet mall. A woman was robbed at gunpoint, while talking on her cell phone. As she fled, two suspects fired a BB gun in her direction, hitting her in the face. No one was ever charged with that crime.
Late Thursday afternoon, Lee County Sheriff's Office confirmed a link between the two cases. A family member of two of the teens arrested in Wednesday's robbery is now being charged with the fraudulent use of the first robbery victim's credit cards. Deputies say she was in the getaway car Thursday night, but they did not have enough evidence at the time to charge her with a crime.
Miromar Outlets released a statement regarding the two crimes. They state that they take the safety of shoppers and employees very seriously, but it is company policy not to publicize any security measures. They say the outlets are fully cooperating with law enforcement.