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Longboat Key Friday, Apr. 13, 2018 2 years ago

Two Longboat residents robbed at gunpoint

Two men tried to steal Longboat Key residents vehicle and got away with a $35,000 Rolex, a wallet and a purse.
by: Bret Hauff Staff Writer

Two armed men robbed a couple staying on Longboat Key outside a condominium complex Tuesday night and fled the scene, leading to a car chase and the arrest of one man, police reported.

The thieves, both armed with semi-automatic pistols, stole a Rolex watch valued at $35,000, a wallet, a purse, $220 in cash, 10 credit cards and the keys to a 2014 Mercedes convertible — a vehicle that the men also tried to steal, according to a report written by the Longboat Key Police Department after the April 10 incident.

A police K-9 unit in Manatee County caught one suspect after Sarasota city police chased a silver sedan. That suspect was transported to a hospital with puncture wounds in his side after the K-9 apprehension. Latarious Harvey, a 27-year-old Bradenton man, was taken into custody on charges of fleeing and eluding a law enforcement officer; resisting an officer without violence and driving without a valid license. More charges are pending. 

No other injuries were reported by police.

The crime unfolded when the couple arrived at the Islander Club around 10:30 p.m. after dinner at the Bonefish Grill and a stop at Walmart in Bradenton, according to a police report.

Longboat Key Police Chief Pete Cumming said the suspects identified the victims as "affluent" individuals and followed them from the Bonefish Grill, into the Walmart then to Longboat Key. 

The couple parked their Mercedes under a covered parking space at the Islander Club when two men in masks approached. The suspects demanded the couple exit the vehicle and “physically removed a $35,000 Rolex” from the man's wrist, police said in their report.

The robber then reached into the man’s pocket and removed his keys, which started his car and allowed him access to the Islander Club, according to the report. The suspects got in the Mercedes and attempted to steal the vehicle. But police said the suspects couldn't figure out how to put the Mercedes into gear.

“After a few seconds of trying, they got out of their Mercedes and got into their original vehicle and fled at a high rate of speed out of the parking lot,” police wrote.

That’s when the victim got back into the Mercedes and honked the horn “to get someone’s attention,” according to police.

One resident of the Islander Club had stepped onto her balcony and saw a silver sedan driving out of the parking lot. Two other witnesses arrived at the Islander Club as the suspects were fleeing, one of whom dropped off the other and “gave chase to the suspect vehicle,” police said in their report.

That’s when Longboat Key police arrived. The responding officer, who learned from witnesses that the vehicle had fled south on Gulf of Mexico Drive toward Sarasota, broadcast the description of the suspect's vehicle, police said.

Sarasota Police found the vehicle and, after failing to stop it, chased the suspects into Manatee County, according to the report.

“During the traffic pursuit, I heard Sarasota officers stating that items were being thrown from the vehicle,” police said in their report.

Then the vehicle stopped in Manatee County, and three occupants fled on foot. Cumming said Harvey exercised his right to remain silent and each of the other suspects have been identified by police. All have "lengthy criminal records," Cumming said.

A Longboat Key witness, taken to the mainland scene of the arrest, identified Harvey with "95%" certainty. 

The case is still active and has been assigned to Longboat Key Police Department for investigation.

I’m a Longboat Key Staff Reporter. I write stories about how decisions and events affect the island, its leaders and its citizens. I received a bachelor's degree in journalism from Emerson College, where I wrote for The Boston Globe. Reach me at 941-366-3468 ext. 333.

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