Armed hotel robbery near OIA could be connected to 11 others



ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Orange County deputies said they're searching for two gunmen who robbed a Holiday Inn Express near the Orlando International Airport on Monday.

Deputies said two men wearing black went into the hotel on Conway Road just before 4:30 a.m. and held an employee at gunpoint.

The men eventually got away with cash, authorities said. No injuries were reported.

Investigators are looking into whether there was a getaway car waiting outside for the crooks and whether it is connected to other hotel robberies that have happened over the last couple of months in the area.

If the Holiday Inn robbery is connected, that would make it the 12th one, authorities said.

The robbers have been terrorizing central Florida hotels and restaurants for six weeks.

Among those robberies were the Ramada in Orlando, a Homewood Inn in Lake Mary and a Courtyard Marriott in Maitland.

"It's one of those things. We know it's just a matter of time before something more serious happens," said Sgt. Parks Duncan of the Orange County Sheriff's Office. "Someone's going to get hurt, killed."

The Sheriff's Office held a news conference on Monday to discuss the recent robberies.

"Tell us why it's so hard to find these guys and why they're still out there," asked Channel 9's Kenneth Craig.

"A lot of it is because of the timing of the evidence we have to get," Duncan said. "It takes time to recover it, process it and get it sent off and get the results if we do."

Deputies told Channel 9 they're making headway at catching the men and they're also beefing up patrols but wouldn't elaborate on what they're doing behind the scenes.

They also said they're confident they will catch the crooks, who could spend life in prison if convicted.