Publix robbery suspect denied bail; More arrests expected

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ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. —

A man faced a judge Thursday after he was arrested in connection with a Publix grocery store robbery in Dr. Phillips.

Cecil Buckner was denied bail in a hearing room inside the Orange County Jail Thursday.

Buckner now faces a slew of new charges.

 "Robbery with a firearm, wearing a mask, aggravated assault with a firearm, grand theft third-degree, kidnapping with a firearm," the judge said Thursday.

Investigators said Buckner, 34, and others have been responsible for multiple Publix robberies, including one on Sand Lake Road on March 16, one in Winter Park and another in DeLand, said authorities.

“He left a hat at the scene and that’s how we linked him,” said Lt. Parks Duncan, head of the Orange County Robbery Unit.

Investigators said they have identified two others as persons of interest, but did not release their names. They said Buckner is cooperating in their investigation.

In the Sand Lake Road robbery, surveillance video shows two men bursting through the shopping center door close to closing time with guns drawn and customers still in the store.

A man in a red-hooded sweatshirt can be seen holding a gun to a woman's head during the robbery, which lasted just under 60 seconds.

Investigators said they can also link Buckner to a robbery in DeLand last month, and another in Winter Park, and said more arrests should be coming soon.

“There are two in the videos. At least a getaway driver and three or four individuals beyond that,” Duncan said.

Bucker had a lengthy criminal history and was behind bars less than a year ago.

He was picked up Wednesday in a 7-Eleven parking lot in Orlando.

“I’m glad to know he’s behind bars,” said one Publix shopper, who didn’t want to be identified.

Deputies said residents can rest a bit easier, but criminals shouldn’t.

“Those that contemplate robbery in this community need to understand, we are coming after them,” Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said.

WFTV learned that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement lab specifically solved the case for investigators by expediting DNA analysis.

Buckner was first arrested in 1997 and his record includes theft and drug charges.  He recently spent seven years in prison, and because of that, his DNA was in a state database.