Mask-wearing burglars strike Bay area

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Early Sunday morning four suspects in masks tried breaking into the Metro PCS store in Port Charlotte. 

They’re failed to get in, but deputies say they were determined.

About an hour and a half later, 60 miles north, it is believed the same suspects set their sights on the Puma store at the Ellenton outlets.

“They pushed their way through the front door and may have used some type of device.  They got in the store and were only in there about a minute and made off with clothing and shoes right there on the display,” said Randy Warren with the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies say they made off with thousands of dollars worth of trendy athletic gear.

“The retail industry isn’t doing well lately and these kinds of things only make it worse,” said shopper Dolores Almond.  “I certainly don’t like to hear it and it makes people afraid to come to the shopping center.” 

From Puma, the suspects would take off in a trio of less than discreet rides, including a Porsche SUV according to witnesses.

We’re told they were all stolen from Sarasota.

Monday afternoon, their joyride and apparent crime spree was over.

“Orlando police have made a stop with suspects that fit the descriptions of what we’re looking at and the vehicles,” Warren said.

And guess what was inside.

“There’s a bunch of Puma merchandise in one of those cars,” said Warren.