Sheriff: Robbery suspects may also have kidnapped man at Walmart in Bradenton


MANATEE -- Two women charged with robbing a man they met at a Bradenton bar may also be suspects in the kidnapping and robbery of another man at a Walmart store earlier this week, according to the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.

On Aug. 19, the victim met the women at El Paisano bar, 5803 15th St. E. They invited the men to eat with them at McDonald's, 4711 14th St. W., according to a news release.

After eating, the women asked the men to follow them to a residence in the 3400 block of 43rd Terrace East. Once there about 1:30 a.m., the men were instructed to walk around the back of the residence and to go inside.

As they did, three masked gunmen appeared and demanded the money hand over their possessions, which the victims did.

According to the sheriff's office, one of the victims began to struggle with one of the suspects and was struck in the mouth with a rifle.

The women arrested were identified by the sheriff's office as Diana Suarez, 22, and Leslie Escajeda, 20. They are each charged with armed robbery and armed

carjacking. Additionally, Suarez is charged with dealing in stolen property, according to the sheriff's office.

They are being held without bond at the Manatee County jail.

In the Walmart case, a 24-year-old man was kidnapped in the parking lot of the store at 2911 53rd Ave. E., robbed of his car and other belongings and then dropped off on the side of a road wearing nothing but his underwear.

About 11:30 p.m., the victim was returning to his car in the parking lot of the store when his attention was grabbed by a woman parked next to him in a dark-colored Ford Expedition with Texas tags. The woman asked for directions, and as the man approached, he was grabbed by two men, armed with assault rifles, who forced them into the Expedition, according to a news release.

One of the gunmen took away the victim's car keys and drove away, while the woman and other gunman drove away with the victim.

Both cars were driven to behind Sam's Club, 5300 30th St. E., where the assailants took all of the victim's belongings, including his shirt and pants.

The woman and one of the gunmen then drove the victim to the 3900 block of 26th Avenue East, Bradenton, where they kicked him out of the vehicle wearing only his underwear, according to the sheriff's office.

The victim flagged down a passing motorist to report what had happened.

The sheriff's office said the investigation is continuing, and that additional charges are possible.

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