Violent robbery caught on camera; search continues - FOX 13 News

Violent robbery caught on camera; search continues

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PALM HARBOR (FOX 13) -

The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office released new surveillance video Wednesday of a brutal robbery outside a Palm Harbor pharmacy.

The attack happened April 8 at Trust Pharmacy on US Highway 19. A man can be seen in the video pacing outside the business, waiting for a woman inside to leave.

"As she exits the pharmacy, he runs up to her, pushes her to the ground, attempts to choke her, makes some threatening statements towards her, grabs her prescriptions and flees," said Cristen Rensel, a spokesperson for the Sheriff's Office. "It was a violent attack."

Detectives said this is the first time the sheriff's office has ever investigated a case in which a customer has been robbed at a pharmacy for their medications.

An employee next door, at Westcoast Radiology, said workers there had heard about the crime but didn't realize how brutal it was until watching the video.

"We just expected maybe somebody grabbed something and ran. We didn't expect that somebody actually got hurt or looked like they got hurt. It looked pretty serious," said Brooklyn Bernhardt. "I really hope that we do find out who it is because we don't want that to happen to somebody else."

Just a few days after the robbery, someone tried to rob St. Marks Pharmacy about 8 miles away on Ridgemoor Boulevard in Palm Harbor.

"We don't have anything linking the two but our detectives are not ruling it out," Rensel said.

Rensel said a man carrying a gun ordered two St. Marks employees to the ground, but a third employee was able to get away. Investigators say when that woman began to scream for help, the suspect ran away without any prescriptions.

Anybody with information about either of these crimes is asked to call the Sheriff's Office Robbery/Homicide Unit at (727) 582-6200.

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