FORT MYERS, Fla - The Lee County Sheriff's Office is investigating a robbery at the Waffle House on Daniels Parkway that happened around 3:15 a.m.
Deputies are searching for two suspects.
According to witnesses, two armed men, wearing masks, entered the business and ordered everyone to the floor. The suspects took the victim's belongings. Some of the victims were also beaten before the suspects fled. No one was seriously injured.
Detectives believe the robbery may be related to a series of violent robberies of Lee County businesses dating back to January.
"They come in masked everytime," says Trish Routte of Southwest Florida CrimeStoppers. "They've got gloves everytime. They've got semiautomatic handguns. And we've also seen a progression of violence."
Routte says the tendency to escalating violence is especially worrisome.
"It's not their first rodeo," Routte told WINK News anchor Cayle Thompson. "They've done this before. But we need to find out who they are and stop this trend before anybody else gets hurt."
The first suspect is described as a black male, approximately 6 foot 2 inches tall with a thin build. He was last seen wearing a red hooded jacket. The second suspect is about 5 foot 10 inches tall with a large build. He was last seen wearing a white shirt and a green mask of shirt over his face.
Although deputies are not releasing many details about the other crimes, Friday's robbery and suspects are eerily similar to another Waffle House that was robbed February 16th.
"To steal from hard working people... to take their tips or rent money, that's really low," a Waffle House employee told WINK News. She asked we not reveal her identity. "They're pathetic. And they will get what they deserve."
If you can identify these suspects, or know anything about this morning's armed robbery of the Waffle House, call the Lee County Sheriff's Office at (239) 477-1000. Or, to remain anonymous and be eligible for a cash reward, call Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS. Anonymous tips may also be made online at www.swflcrimestoppers.org, through the TipSubmit app on any iPhone or by texting CRIMES (274637) Keyword: REWARD.