Kidnapping, robbery cases put Tampa residents on edge

- Hillsborough County Deputies are looking for a group that has pulled off two kidnappings in Tampa.

Deputies say - both Wednesday and Thursday nights of this week - there were attacks at two complexes across the street from one another.

"It appears that they are very planned, they are very well armed, and we want to catch them before they have the opportunity to do the third case, where we end up getting somebody killed," said Larry McKinnon of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

At 4 a.m. Wednesday, at the Oak Bend apartments near Fletcher and 15th Street, deputies say a man was forced at gunpoint into his car and driven by two men wearing ski masks to the Bank of America ATM at Fowler and Nebraska.

He was forced to withdraw money, and then driven back home, where the suspects ran away.

"They threatened to harm them if they notified the police," said McKinnon. "It had to have been very traumatizing for the victims to have to go through this because they have multiple guns stuck in their face."

The next night, at the Spanish River complex just before midnight, it happened again; a kidnapping, an ATM robbery, and a release. This time, there were three suspects.

"Once they get that cash, they don't know what is going to happen to them," McKinnon said.

One suspect is described as being in his 20s, the other two are possibly teenagers, under 5'8" and one had what was described as a "baby face."

But there's little else to go on, including what they wanted the money for. None of the victims were physically injured, and deputies hope to keep it that way.

"We have seen these types of cases," said McKinnon. "The longer they go, the greater the chance of violence."

As they ask for the public's help in identifying the suspects, deputies also want people, especially those who live in the area near Fletcher, to beware.

"I am definitely going to be in early," said one neighbor. "This year when my lease is up, I am definitely moving."

Another neighbor told FOX 13, "Now we have to watch our backs."

Deputies say there is a cash reward for anyone who provides information that leads to an arrest. 

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