Employees shaken up after violent armed robbery at Pizza Hut

Published: August 31, 2021 8:00 PM EDT
Updated: September 1, 2021 6:22 AM EDT

A Sunday morning armed robbery left the employees of a Pizza Hut location, and an entire shopping center in Iona, scared and nervous. The person who robbed the Pizza Hut held employees at gunpoint, tied them up and pistol-whipped them.

On Tuesday, WINK News spoke to one of the employees of the restaurant. While he was not attacked during the robbery, he did reiterate that many of the people who work there are still shaken up.

Lee County Sheriff’s deputies say that behind the restaurant, near the dumpsters, two masked men wielding guns forced four Pizza Hut employees to the ground. The men then used zip ties to tie them up. After that, they pistol-whipped the employees.

The masked suspects then forced the workers back inside and took each of their cell phones before making off with money from the register and the safe.

Sonia Portas owns a flower shop, the Paradise of Flowers, three doors down from where the armed robbery occurred in the shopping center. “And I’m worried now, because my business is next to what happened,” Portas said. “And you know I don’t like that kind of situation because it makes me, like, uncomfortable.”

She says she spent most of Sunday alone, working in her shop along Gladiolus Drive. Portas was completely unaware of the violent crime that had taken place hours earlier and just feet away.

“Surprised and concerned so I hope we can do something to get secure in the shop would be really nice,” said Portas.

Because the suspects were wearing masks, detectives do not have a clear description of them.

Deputies went to the shopping center and other nearby businesses Tuesday, in search of surveillance video that could help them in this case.

If you have any information about this case, you are being asked to call Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS (8477). Tips can also be made online or via the app. Information leading to an arrest could earn you a $3,000 reward.