Sheriff Judd: Clerks at two Polk shops failed to report robberies

Polk Sheriff Grady Judd says two convenience store clerks have made life a lot harder for his detectives trying to catch the robbers who held up their stores.

“This is the most messed up couple of robberies that I can ever remember us being involved in,” Judd told FOX 13.

Neither clerk told 911 dispatchers about the holdups, both in Winter Haven.

The first one happened on at the Citgo on Avenue G NW around 6 Sunday morning. Detectives say three masked gunmen came in and held the place up.

After they left, the clerk called 911 several times, but hung up before he got through to an operator.

“He never intended to speak, because he speaks very little English," Judd told FOX 13. “He thought if he dialed 911 and hung up, we would show up. We will, but your call has to go through.”

His didn’t. The sheriff’s office does not get a call for another 45 minutes, when the new shift arrived.

In the meantime, investigators say the robbers were holding up a second place. This one, a Marathon on Havendale Blvd.

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A female clerk there didn’t even attempt to call 911.

“When that robbery is over, the lady calls her store manager, [and she says], I’ve just been robbed. He said, call the sheriff’s office. [She says] I can’t because I have an outstanding warrant for failure to appear.”

Judd says the female clerk took off to make sure she was gone before deputies arrived, so she wouldn’t get arrested.

“Come on!” commented Judd. “What’s goin’ on? That’s just crazy stuff.”

The sheriff office is now looking for four people -- the three robbers, and the convenience store clerk with the warrant.

Anyone with information on the robberies is asked to call the Polk County Sheriff's Office at 863-534-6300.