MANATEE -- Detectives say the armed robbery and kidnapping late Monday that left a 24-year-old man on the side of a road in his underwear may be linked to at least one other armed robbery, according to Manatee Sheriff's Office spokesman Dave Bristow.
The victim was reportedly walking to his car about 11:30 p.m. in the parking lot of the Walmart at 2911 53rd Ave. E. when a blonde woman parked next to him in a dark-colored Ford Expedition with Texas tags. The woman asked the victim for directions as he approached the car. He was then grabbed by two men armed with assault rifles who forced him into the Expedition.
The victim's keys were taken by a gunman who drove away in his car. The other gunman and the woman drove away with the victim.
Both cars were taken behind the Sam's Club at 5300 30th St. E. where all the victim's belongings, including pants and shirt, were stolen. A gunman and the woman allegedly drove the victim to the 3900 block of 26th Avenue East in Bradenton and kicked him out of the car.
The victim was able to flag down a passing driver for help.
The victim suffered a bump to the head from a blow by a firearm, but refused treatment.
The only description released is the blonde woman has a tattoo of a flower on the neck or shoulder area.
The Sheriff's Office located the abandoned car Tuesday in the 3100 block of 34th Ave. Dr. E. in Bradenton.
A week earlier early, on Aug. 19, two men met two women at El Paisano bar, 5803 15th St. E. The women reportedly invited the men to eat at McDonald's, 4711 14th St. W., according to the Sheriff's Office. After eating, the men followed the women to a home in the 3400 block of 43rd Terrace East.
The men were reportedly told to walk to the back of the house where three masked gunmen demanded their money and belongings. Despite a struggle between one victim and a suspect, the bandits es
caped with the belongings.
The women were seen leaving in a Ford Expedition while the gunmen left in the victims' pick-up, which was found abandoned Tuesday morning, according to the sheriff's office.
The first woman was described as having black hair and a tattoo of the sun on her left shoulder. while the second woman had blonde hair and a tattoo of unknown lettering on an arm.
Detectives believe there may be one additional related incident, according to Bristow. No arrests have been made.
Anyone approached by anyone fitting the suspects' descriptions is advised to walk away.
Jessica De Leon, law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter @JDeLeon1012