Heavy traffic is rarely a good thing, but it displayed a crime-fighting characteristic on Clearwater Beach Thursday night. Clearwater police apprehended three suspects in an armed robbery after they became trapped at the beach's infamous traffic circle.
Police spokesperson Joelle Castilli said the trio met up with a young visitor from Illinois, allegedly to sell drugs, but robbed him at gunpoint.
Then they drove north, up one of the busiest beaches in Florida.
"They got stuck in the traffic just south of the roundabout and the police were able to easily catch them," Castilli said. "The police were out in force because we had about ten cruisers out on the beach."
The felony traffic stop went down in front of a Crabby Bill's restaurant.
"There were guns drawn, police cars, very many police cars," manager Joyce Greenway recalled Friday, "Every customer on the patio was filming and texting. The excitement added to their vacation."
She estimated at least 200 people documented the police action, although a search of Internet sites did not turn up any postings yet.
Castilli said no charges were filed against the 19-year old visitor from Illinois, despite his alleged attempt to buy drugs. The accused robbers are Eric Franklin and Adarius Lewis, both of Tampa, and Brenda Gonzalez, who police said has no home address.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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