MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Bar owners from Manatee County are banding together to try to put a stop to a rash of armed holdups. The gunmen have been at it for weeks now, but cops are hot on the trail. The robbers don’t care who they terrorize, as long as they get what they want.
A victim, who did not want to be identified, said the crime has haunted her. “Nobody should have to be in fear of their lives when they go out or go to work,” she said.
This victim had three guns pointed at her head. “Terrorized. I mean, I was terrified. I got thrown to the ground. I had guns to my head. I mean, my customers were treated the same way I was,” she said.
At the Bubba’s Too bar in Bradenton, the crooks wore masks. Once inside, they pistol whipped an employee. At the Dolphin Lounge, also in Bradenton, the robbers ordered a bartender to the ground.
The bar’s owner invited other owners and employees to learn how to be safe. “Just the fact that they’re coming in and stealing is bad enough, but then when they’re using a weapon and threatening lives at the same time, that’s, ya know, it’s very aggravating,” Brent Cohenour said.
Manatee County deputies assured those gathered, the agency is working to put the men away. The robbers also targeted Three Oaks Bar and Grill, in Ellenton, where they also took booze. And last Thursday, at the Oasis Bar, in Bradenton, they also robbed customers of cash and phones.
The owner of the Oasis Bar, who asked not to be identified, trembled as she spoke about the crime.”It makes me cry. I’m just so glad nobody got hurt. It’s all it amounts to,” she said.