Hoodie Bandit's robbery spree comes to an end

10:19 AM, Oct 22, 2010   |    comments
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Video: UPDATE: Hoodie bandit caught

  • Person of interest sought in a series of robberies in Hillsborough County
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Update: Deputies have arrested the suspected Hoodie Bandit.  So who is to blame for all these robberies?  According to deputies it is 26-year-old Yener Belli.  It also seems that they caught him just in time.  When deputies found him he was in the parking lot of a convenience store at St. Cloud Ave. and State Road 60 when he was arrested.  He had his signature hoodie on and a weapon was found on him.

Brandon, Florida - Time after time, surveillance tapes show him walking into stores and demanding money.

"Open the register, open the register!" the robber shouted at one clerk.

In just over a week, Hillsborough Sheriff's detectives say the same man has hit nine stores, mostly in the Brandon area. He leaves with cash and sometimes lottery tickets and Newport cigarettes. He always leaves behind terror.

"This guy's putting them on the floor. We've had clerks laying on the floor, terrified he's going to come back and hurt them," says Cpl. Stephen Decatur of the Hillsborough Sheriff's Office.

The robber's described as white, about 5'7" with a medium build, and age 20 to 25.

He wears a variety of hoodie sweatshirts. A few have USF written on them and one is from the Harrah's casino. While his fashion sense sets him apart, it's the Uzi type gun the robber flashes that has clerks on edge and detectives worried.

"We consider him extremely dangerous," says Decatur. "He's very anxious and trying to get it done in a hurry."

But some lottery tickets the robber stole from a 7-Eleven may prove to be very unlucky for him. A man tried to cash in some of the stolen tickets at another location and once again, surveillance cameras caught his image. He was driving a red Toyota Tundra pickup truck with a white sticker on the passenger door.

PHOTO GALLERY: Pictures of the hooded suspect, as well as the person of interest

Detectives say it's possible the man with the lottery tickets is the robber or may just be a friend. Whatever the case, detectives want to find him.

"He's a person of interest, we'd like to talk to him and find out where the tickets came from and what his involvement is with the case," says Decatur.

So far no one's gotten hurt and investigators want to catch this "hoodie hoodlum" before that changes.

For more information from the Hillsborough Sheriff's Office click here

Kathryn Bursch, 10 News

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