Sheriff: Suspects may have robbed 13 7-Eleven stores in Manatee

jdeleon@bradenton.comOctober 24, 2013 

MANATEE -- Two suspects remain in custody as the Manatee County Sheriff's Office deputies continue the search for a third suspect in the armed robbery of at least one local 7-Eleven, and possibly a string of others.

Kaylesha Brannic, 19, and Ra'shaad McDonald, 20, were arrested early Wednesday and charged with armed robbery of the 7-Eleven at 5900 Manatee Ave. W. in Bradenton.

Brannic appeared at a hearing Thursday afternoon before Manatee County Judge Thomas Krug. Bond was set at $250,000.

Brannic and McDonald are suspects in the recent string of armed robberies of 7-Elevens throughout Manatee County, according to the sheriff's office. The method of operation in the most recent armed robbery is identical to others, according to Manatee County Sheriff's Office spokesman Dave Bristow.

"We have had a lot of 7-Eleven robberies in the last few months," Bristow said. "We don't know they were involved but certainly we are checking them out."

According to Bristow, there have been 13 armed robberies in recent months at 7-Eleven stores, including two in Palmetto, one in Bradenton and 10 elsewhere in Manatee County.

Brannic and McDonald have not been cooperative

so far, but detectives are reviewing each recent 7-Eleven armed robbery.

In the most recent arrest, a Manatee County Sheriff's Office detective was conducting surveillance at 12:20 a.m. Wednesday when the suspect's car was seen approaching the store and backing up the driveway, according to the arrest report. Three minutes later the detective reportedly saw two male suspects get out of the car dressed in dark clothing with their face and heads wrapped.

They "creeped along the west side of 7-Eleven," entered the store and were reportedly seen by the detective robbing the store at gunpoint before leaving in the waiting car.

Dispatch was alerted and the detective drove around the store, saw the getaway vehicle and began to follow it eastbound on First Avenue West.

Backup deputies arrived and the getaway car began to speed up in an apparent attempt to flee but was forced to stop at a dead-end street in the 5300 block of Second Avenue Drive Northwest.

Two males suspects fled from the car but Brannic reportedly remained in the driver's seat before being taken into custody.

McDonald was caught a short time later by K-9 deputies. He is charged with resisting arrest with violence and battery on a police K-9. He was treated for bites before being taken into custody. The K-9 was unharmed.

The third suspect remains at large and the sheriff's office is working to find him, according to Bristow.

McDonald is scheduled to appear in court Thursday afternoon. He remains in custody at the Manatee County jail with no bond.

Anyone with information should call the Manatee County Sheriff's Office at 941-747-3011 or Crime Stoppers at 866-634-TIPS.

Jessica De Leon, law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter @JDeLeon1012.

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