Investigators searching for masked robbers targeting Central Florida cell phone stores

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is looking for up to five people believed to be targeting phone stores across Central Florida.

Their latest hit was a T-Mobile store on US 98 in Lakeland shortly after 1 pm on Tuesday.

Video surveillance shows four people, believed to be guys in their late teens or early twenties, wearing hoodies and masks, sauntering in the front door. Within seconds, they start wildly grabbing cell phones, as several employees and an elderly customer watch in horror.

The robbery took less than a minute. Investigators say the suspects jumped into a blue Dodge Charger with a temporary tag and took off.

Detectives are looking for the four intruders, and possibly a fifth who may have been their getaway driver.

“They’re thieves. They’re criminals. That’s an intentional criminal act, and they have to be held accountable,” Polk Sheriff Grady Judd told FOX 13.

Detectives suspect the intruders, thought to be from Orlando, may be members of a crime ring that has committed half a dozen similar crimes. The targets include another phone store in Polk County, one in Auburndale, and several in the Orlando area.

“Thankfully, no one was hurt in this incident at a third-party dealer location,” said T-Mobile spokesperson Roni Singleton in a written statement released late afternoon Wednesday.

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