By Tamas Mondovics
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said that the recent incidents of stealing high value merchandise in a grab-and-run fashion is not a new trend or mean an increase of such crimes.
But, with the holiday season at hand, an increase of awareness on the part of residents and businesses is a good start in order to avoid becoming the next victim.
“We are not seeing a trend, just an increase of the way we are alerting the community and ask residents to identify the suspects, thanks to better surveillance, photos and video,” said HCSO Public Information Officer Larry McKinnon.
While emphasizing that there is no reason to expect an increase of such crimes, McKinnon said, “Taking preventive measures is always a good idea.”
Giving testimony to the importance of being on alert is an increased number of incidents that have occurred at the Westfield Mall at the Brandon Town Center prompting the Sheriff’s office to seek resident’s assistance in identifying the suspects.
The most recent of such grab-and-run crimes reported involved a suspects who stole over $800 worth of jeans from the Macy’s department store located at 638 Brandon Town Center Dr. in Brandon.
Once inside the suspect grabbed approximately 20 pairs of women’s denim jeans that were on a display table near the door.
The suspect—a white male, 50-65 years of age, 6’3″, 210 lbs., with fair complexion, large build, short white hair, who was last seen wearing a blue baseball cap, blue jeans, a striped shirt and white sneakers—then exited the store without paying.
The Sheriff’s Office is now asking anyone with any information in reference to the suspect to call 247-8200. Anyone with any information regarding the identity and whereabouts of this suspect and who wants to be eligible for a cash reward is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-TIPS (8477), report anonymously online at www.crimestopperstb.com or text “CSTB plus your tip” to C-R-I-M-E-S (274637).