Suspect in LaBelle pawnshop robbery arrested

An arrest was made Friday for the robbery of a LaBelle pawnshop, where guns were stolen and employees were tied up.

Federal Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms is leading the investigation of a robbery at Capital Pawn on Hickpochee Avenue around 9:20 a.m. Wednesday, where a robber got away with stolen guns and other possible items from the shop.

According to the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office, the suspect, Raynaldo Ray Quiroga, 36, is behind bars and faces charges of robbery with a firearm, false imprisonment, impersonating an officer, grand theft of a firearm among other charges.

Friday night, Quiroga is Hendry County Jail. He’s a convicted felon who escaped from prison.

The sheriff’s office has yet to find those six weapons that were stolen. He got away with five handguns and one assault-style rifle.

HCSO said Quiroga was wearing a law enforcement-style uniform with a badge and holster during the robbery.

Once inside the store, Quiroga allegedly gave orders to employees and patrons before tying them up. After everyone was secured, HCSO says, he took six guns from the store before getting away.

We spoke to the owner of Capital Pawn Thursday morning. He told us he never expected to be held up by a law enforcement officer. He’s happy everyone went home safe.

The fact that a man posed as a cop to steal guns from a pawn shop made people in LaBelle very nervous.

Margarita Lugo lives in LaBelle. “Where is he at right now? Where is he at right now? Has he done it somewhere else? You know has he done it before? Or did he do it again? I don’t know,” said Lugo.

The Hendry County Sheriff’s Office arrested Quiroga late Thursday night.

“I really don’t know how to feel,” neighbor Brigett Ramirez said. “It’s a shock.”

Thursday, Ramirez saw police at her Quiroga’s property. Investigators say they searched his home and his car and found several pieces of evidence that were used during the robbery. However, the firearms were not found.

“They’ve got to get some search warrants,” Kolko said. “He may be tied to more than one location than his house. So let’s give law enforcement a little time to see if those firearms turn up in the next couple days.”

Even though he’s been arrested, Lugo is still on edge. “I triple-check my doors every night now since I heard that,” Lugo said.

Linda McCormick lives in LaBelle, too. “We have to lock everything but won’t feel 100 percent safe until he’s caught,” she said.

This isn’t Quiroga’s first run-in with authorities, either. He spent more than 10 years in prison for robbery with a firearm.

His arrest is the news many in this community have been waiting for.

“It will make me feel a lot better. A lot safer,” said Lugo.

Rich Kolko, WINK News Safety & Security Specialist, says all of the serial numbers are now flagged in a national database of stolen firearms.

“Either being pawned again, or in criminal activity, or seized by law enforcement,” Kolko said. “They’ll be able to tie them back exactly to this robbery.”

The sheriff’s office won’t say how they identified Quiroga as a suspect, but, once they did they performed a search on his LaBelle home. They also spoke to his girlfriend prior to making the arrest.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the recovery of those six weapons. If you have any information, you are being asked to call SWFL Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS (8477).

Reporter:Zach Oliveri
Justin Kase
Writer:WINK News
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