BOCA RATON, Fla. - Holiday shopping took a frightening turn in Boca Raton over the weekend. Investigators say a cell phone store was held up by four suspects who bound and then pepper-sprayed several victims. The suspects were captured on surveillance video.
Gary Goldberg, a Boca Raton resident, stumbled upon the scene at the Glades Road T-Mobile store Sunday afternoon. "I saw the crime scene, I saw some tape, I saw Boca police on scene," he said.
Police said the suspects had handguns and ordered two store staffers and a customer to a back room.
Investigators said, there, the three victims were bound and then pepper-sprayed by the suspects.
"If they are anything like me, I just would have said 'I hope to get to see my family again'," Goldberg said of the victims.
The suspects were said to have gotten away with cash, a number of unused cell phones from store shelves and also personal items from victims, all items that investigators say, are traceable.
"Easily recognizable," said former Boca Raton Police Chief Andrew Scott, who has investigated many armed robberies during his years leading the force.
Scott said this incident was different because the suspects seemed to have little to no regard for the high-tech surveillance system capturing their every move. "Technology today is so robust," said Scott. "From photographs, to surveillance tapes to even the items that they stole can be activated to show where those particular phones are," he said.
A day after the incident, an armed guard stands watch at the T-Mobile store during business hours. Authorities, meanwhile, want the public to look at the suspects' faces in hopes of catching the men before such a scene can unfold again.
"Any particular time during the course of this incident, it could have gone badly," said Scott. "That's the frightening aspect about this incident."
A statement from management at T-Mobile reads, in part, "Our thoughts and concerns are with our employees and our customer who were the victims of this senseless crime. T-Mobile is providing our employees with the assistance they need right now." Spokesperson Juan Cornejo said that management continues to work with authorities on this case.
Anyone with information about what happened at the T-Mobile store on Sunday is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 458-TIPS.