Leesburg Police has instituted a Robbery and Gun Crime Task Force in response to a rash of armed robberies in Lake County over the past two weeks.
- Authorities say robberies are similar
- Since March 1, 18 armed robberies, 2 arrests
- Task Force will continue until it is no longer needed
Officials said some of the robberies have been similar, such as the recent robberies at fast food restaurants during which the suspects forced people into freezers.
Resident Steve Pickering was a victim at one such robbery, which took place at a McDonald’s location in Mount Dora. Pickering said he was eating inside when he was forced into the freezer.
“All of a sudden someone walked up to me and put a gun in my face and said, ‘Get up,'” said Pickering. “So I did, and they herded us back into the freezer.”
Leesburg Police say since March 1, there have been 18 armed robberies and only 2 arrests.
Lt. Joe Iozzi says they have reached out to the sheriff’s office and other agencies, so that everyone can start sharing information to get these crimes solved.
- “We created a software outlet where all the agencies can upload information into a database and at will can immediately pull information out or put information in order to compare and contrast all these cases collectively,” he said.
Iozzi say the task force, which didn’t cost anything to create, will continue until it is no longer needed.