ELLENTON, Fl. (WFLA) – The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s assistance after four men wearing ‘Halloween’ masks broke into a business in Ellenton’s Factory Outlet Mall early Sunday morning.
Approximately 90 minutes before that incident, a similar crime also involving four suspects – wearing hooded sweatshirts or masks – attempted to break into a Metro PCS location in Port Charlotte.
The store’s owner was out of town when the manager called him to explain what had happened.
“I was in Orlando when he told what had happened, I accessed our cameras and there they were,” said the owner who did not wish to be identified. “Then we heard about the break in in Ellenton so we want to get these images out there so these guys are caught.”
According to a Manatee County Sheriff’s Office report the four unknown men gained access to the Puma athletic store at the outlet mall. They broke in through the front door and made off with an unknown amount of athletic merchandise – shoes, shorts and t-shirts.
The location in Port Charlotte is 56 miles south of the Ellenton retail development.
Ortigoza turned his surveillance images over to the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office and they are investigating. One of the suspects in the surveillance video is wearing the mask of a ‘Star Wars’ character Kylo Ren.
Investigators do not yet know if the crimes are related.
If you have any information about the Ellenton break in, please contact MCSO at 941-747-3011. If you have a tip about the Port Charlotte crime, contact Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-8477.