• Same masked, armed men may have robbed Publix, McDonald's


    APOPKA, Fla. - Two robberies in two different central Florida counties could be related, authorities said Monday.

    There was an armed robbery at an Apopka McDonald's early Monday morning, authorities said.

    Investigators said the McDonald's robbery on Rock Springs Road may be connected to a robbery that happened at an Altamonte Springs Publix late Sunday night.

    Just before closing time, three armed men wearing masks ambushed the Publix.

    Investigators said customers were being held at gunpoint near the registers as the men walked an employee back to the office and demanded that the employee bag up cash.

    In the McDonald's robbery, police said three masked men with shotguns held four people hostage during the robbery.

    Authorities said one of the robbers forced a pregnant employee to the back of the store to open a safe. She was then tied up along with three other employees, authorities said.

    "No shots fired. There was a shotgun that was racked when the female employee didn't act fast enough opening the safe. [They] took an undisclosed amount of money," said Lt. Christopher Hanstein of the Apopka Police Department.

    Police said one employee was able to call 911.

    "They said, 'We're not going to hurt you.' But, when you're face down on the floor, your hands are tied-wrapped; I mean, people can say, 'We're not going to hurt you,' but you don't know until they're gone," said customer Sherry Brunson.

    Investigators said witnesses in the area described what police believe was the getaway car circling the area prior to the robbery.

    "I really, honestly wondered if I was going to meet God," said Brunson.

    The car was described as a gold or tan Grand Marquis or Crown Victoria, with baby shades over three windows.

    Police said they are going through surveillance video.

    There may be a fourth suspect, who may have been the getaway driver, police said.

    There were no injuries, police said.

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    Same masked, armed men may have robbed Publix, McDonald's