Sheriff's office: 2 Bradenton robberies may be connected

MANATEE — The same three masked suspects may have been responsible for two separate robberies early this morning, according to the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.

About 2:15 a.m., three men were robbed while standing outside a residence in the 900 block of 61st Avenue Terrace East, Bradenton.

One of the suspects used a gun to beat two of the victims, and the third victim was thrown to the ground. The suspects fled after taking cash and various forms of identification, according to the sheriff's office.

About 45 minutes later, at 3 a.m., five people standing outside a nearby residence were robbed by three masked assailants, according to the sheriff's office.

The victims were standing outside a house in the 6100 block of Fifth Street East when they were approached by the suspects — two of whom were armed with handguns, and the other with a knife.

One of the suspects grabbed one of the victims by the throat, and another used a gun to beat another victim, according to the sheriff's office.

The suspects took cash and several pieces of identification.

The suspects, who were described as wearing all black, fled in a gray car north on Fifth Street East, according to the sheriff's office.