Sarasota deputies looking for armed suspect after robbery near church

Sarasota County deputies are searching for an armed robber who stole money from someone at an area church.

SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Sarasota County deputies are searching for an armed robber who stole money from someone at an area church.

It happened Saturday at 3:40pm at the Presbyterian Church of the Covenant located at 7950 S. Tamiami Trail.

Deputies say the suspect approached the victim and requested money. When the victim refused, deputies say the suspect grabbed the victim’s arm and took an undisclosed amount of money and fled on foot from the church. Deputies responded and were unable to locate the suspect.

“And there was a man standing next to my car and he said he wanted some help and wanted some money,” Thomas Miner, the victim, said. “And I said no, I don’t have any and he grabbed me by the arm and that’s when I reached into my pocket and gave him a ten dollar bill because that’s all I had.”

Michael Mansperger, the pastor at the church, said the parents whose children attend the church’s daycare were concerned.

“We have a daycare center during the day and already, through a crime report, one of the parents called and asked what happened and are my children going to be safe?” he said.

He asked people to come and leave in pairs or groups after the incident.

The suspect is described as a W/M, approximately 30-35 years old, 6 feet 1 inch tall, weighing about 190 pounds, long brown hair, beard, jeans, blue backpack and sunburned.

Anyone with any information reference this case is asked to contact the Sarasota Sheriff’s Office at 941-861-5800 or crime stoppers at (941)366-tips. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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