MANATEE -- With criminals perhaps more desperate these days and victims occasionally more daring to repel them, the end result can sometimes look like a scene out of an action movie.
That’s what happened Friday in Bradenton during two possibly connected attempted robberies that culminated in no injuries, no loss of property and no arrests; but there was some security video and plenty of odd details.
The two attempted robberies were at Alligator Auto Insurance at 1403 57th Ave. W., and Liberty Savings bank three blocks away at 1411 60th Ave. W.
It’s possible that the suspect who attempted to rob Alligator Auto Insurance at 9:05 a.m. also tried to rob Liberty Savings at 9:29 a.m.
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“They would have had to be very busy to do all that, but we can’t rule it out,” said Dave Bristow, spokesman for the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.
At Alligator Auto Insurance, the suspect, who arrived on a bicycle and carried a gun, yelled out to the owner, sitting at a desk, “Give me all the money.”
That’s when a non-employee who happened to be standing near the owner’s desk jumped in front of the suspect and yelled, “Shoot me,” Bristow said.
“What you had here was this guy who apparently hangs out there,” Bristow said of the non-employee who jumped in daringly. “You don’t usually hear someone saying ‘Shoot me.’ ”
The suspect’s response was to strike the non- employee in the head with the pistol and bolt out of the office, Bristow said.
“A monkey wrench had been thrown into his plans,” Bristow said of the suspect.
The suspect fled west on 57th Avenue West with the non-employee in hot pursuit in a vehicle, Bristow said.
The non-employee then struck the suspect with the vehicle at 16th Street West, knocking him off the bike.
The suspect ran north, forced his way into an occupied vehicle at the 7-Eleven at 5640 14th St. W., and told the driver to get out, Bristow said.
The suspect had more woes there as the driver told him, “No.”
The suspect finally did persuade the driver to take him a short distance where the suspect bailed out and couldn’t be located by deputies, Bristow said.
At Liberty Savings, the bank keeps the doors locked and buzzes in its customers, Bristow said.
At 9:29 a.m., a suspect wearing a black ski mask, a gray pullover sweatshirt and dark jogging pants began pulling on the north entrance door, Bristow said.
“When the suspect could not get in they fled west on 60th Avenue West,” Bristow said.
A K-9 unit tracked the suspect in that area, but lost the track, Bristow said.
Bristow isn’t recommending that businesses have non-employees on hand to yell “Shoot me” when a gunman comes in, but the buzz system is another matter.
“I have to think more banks will look at buzzing people in even though it’s a bit of an inconvenience for the customers,” Bristow said. “It’s a shame they have to do it.”