Following the second armed robbery in three weeks at the University Wine and Spirits liquor store Sunday, Orange County Sheriff’s Office Detective Greg McQuitter told media Wednesday that the suspects are still at large.
The robbery occurred around midnight Sunday, and the two men can be seen in a video holding the store clerk at gunpoint and demanding the cash in the register. The clerk was not harmed, but was required to lie on the ground as the suspects fled.
“Nobody has been injured, but [the suspects] have been very violent when they come in — especially in this last case,” McQuitter said. “For instance, in this last case, both suspects had guns, both demanded the money and said ‘Hey, I’ll shoot you if you don’t comply’ and so these guys are very, very brazen and very violent.”
OCSO said the store has been robbed four times this year. Prior robberies of the liquor store, which is located less than three miles from UCF, have been committed by suspects such as Patrick Evans Herard, 22, and Darius King, 17, who were involved in separate incidents. Both were arrested and connected to previous crimes involving burglary, thefts and drugs, but not to each other. McQuitter said none of the liquor-store robberies have been related.
“No, they’re not related,” McQuitter said. “They’re just total random acts of violence by people who like to do bad things to [other] people.”
McQuitter said this crime isn’t considered UCF related and that the store just happens to be in a convenient location. He also said that if any individual happens to be in a store that’s being robbed, don’t try and be a hero.
“Just comply with the bad guys. If they’ve got guns to your face, comply and be a good witness. Don’t try to be [a hero], don’t try to fight them, don’t try to do anything,” he said. “Just remember everything — remember what they’re wearing, remember what they look like, kind of tags for their vehicles, license plates – remember all those kinds of things.”
OCSO is in the process of increasing patrols and implementing other investigative measures to prevent further robberies from occurring.
Witnesses have yet to come forward regarding the most recent robbery, but McQuitter said witnesses have been integral to arresting the previous suspects.
“In [the] other cases, that’s how we got these guys identified. We put it out to the media outlets and within days people said ‘Hey, I know who that guys is,’ and they told us who it was,” McQuitter said. “That’s why I’m reaching out to you guys now.”
If you or someone you know has any information regarding this crime, contact the Orange County Sheriff’s Office at 407-254-7000 or the Central Florida Crimeline at 800-423-TIPS.
Alissa Smith is a Contributing Writer for the Central Florida Future.