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Sarasota Friday, Aug. 20, 2010 7 years ago

Shot suspect could be connected to robberies

by: Robin Roy City Editor

A 30-year-old man who pulled a gun on sheriff’s deputies yesterday and was seriously wounded in an exchange of gunfire could be the suspect Sarasota police were looking for in up to five adult-store robberies.

Harry Bell was allegedly involved in a hit-and-run in Osprey yesterday. Deputies tracked him to the intersection of Clark Road and Beneva Road.

Detectives say Bell stopped the pickup truck he was driving, which was stolen and had extensive front-end damage, and pulled a gun on several sheriff’s deputies.

Two deputies fired back, and Bell was seriously wounded. He is currently at Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg. Bell is still alive, but his exact condition is unknown.

Deputies found a mask in the damaged pickup truck, which was similar to a gorilla-type mask used the previous night in two adult-store robberies in North Sarasota.

The robbery suspect’s description closely matches Bell, and a surveillance camera captured a similar pickup truck outside one of the adult businesses.

Five adult-store robberies have occurred in Sarasota since July 16.

The six deputies involved in the incident were placed on routine leave, while the investigation continues.

Bell has an extensive criminal history in Sarasota County dating back 12 years, including aggravated assault on a police officer, battery, bribery, DUI, resisting arrest and exhibiting a firearm.

Contact Robin Roy at [email protected].

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