Man charged with robbing 2 hotels near Sarasota Bradenton airport

October 8, 2013 

SARASOTA -- A Sarasota man has been charged with robbing two hotels near Sarasota Bradenton International Airport last month, according to Sarasota police.

Joseph Serrano, 22, is charged with two counts of armed robbery, two counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and a single count of aggravated battery with a firearm.

Police say Serrano on Sept. 18 robbed the Golden Host Hotel, 4675 N. Tamiami Trail. Serrano emptied an employee's pockets and punched them in the stomach before fleeing, police said.

A week later, on Sept. 25, police say walked into the Marriott Residence Inn at 1040 University Parkway, pointed a gun at a clerk and demanded money. The clerk refused and tried to grab the gun. Serrano responded by pistol-whipping the clerk, taking the money and running away, police said.

Later that day, police say a man acting suspiciously was spotted in the lobby of a third hotel, the Hyatt Place Hotel, 950 University Parkway.

"Serrano's physical build and clothing matched the video surveillance from the Golden Host Hotel," police said in a news release.

Officers responded and interviewed Serrano, who denied involvement with the robberies.

Serrano was arrested on Sept. 27 after the victim in the first robbery identified him in a photo lineup as the assailant. Also, a woman Serrano was staying with did not corroborate an alibi he had given investigations, according to a police report.

Serrano is being held without bond at the Sarasota County jail.

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