Armed suspect arrested during robbery in Lakeland convenience store, police say

Booking image for Antonio Welch (Courtesy: Lakeland Police Department)

A Polk County man was arrested and accused of holding a clerk at knife-point inside a 7-Eleven convenience store. However, he didn't get far due to an officer who happened to be nearby, police say.

Police arrested 42-year-old Antonio Welch. They said around 10:23 p.m. on Saturday, a Lakeland police officer was in the middle of a traffic stop in the parking lot of the 7-Eleven, located at 851 South Florida Avenue. 

During that time, a citizen told him a clerk was "in distress inside the store," according to the police department.

Officials said the officer entered the store and found a store clerk pointing toward the counter area where the suspect, who had a knife, was holding another clerk on the ground.

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The officer ordered the suspect, later identified as Welch, to drop the weapon. Detectives said they learned Welch battered the store clerk, as well as stole money and cigarettes during the robbery.

He was taken into custody and faces charges of robbery with a weapon, aggravated battery, false imprisonment and possession of cocaine.