'Ninja robbers' may be caught: Two taken into custody in connection with Broward, Miami robberies

DANIA BEACH, Fla. -- Two men taken into custody Friday night are being investigated in connection with the "ninja robberies" in Broward and Miami-Dade counties that began in May.

Police stopped the two men at a traffic light in Hollywood after a robbery at a Two-Quick Food Store in Dania Beach Friday night, said FBI special agent Michael Leverock. One of the men was shot by a police officer and taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

If the men are found to be the "ninja robbers," the Dania Beach robbery would be their 18th robbery.

"We're looking into their connection with the 17 other robberies," Leverock said. He stopped short of saying that they are the "ninja robbers."

In Fort Lauderdale, the "ninja robbers" held up a gas station and a liquor store. In Dania Beach, they robbed three gas stations and the convenience store, the FBI said. In North Miami and North Miami Beach they robbed at least four convenience stores and two gas stations, the FBI said.

Surveillance videos showed that the robberies often happened at night, when there were few or no customers. The robbers, masked and dressed as ninjas, used a gun to intimidate.

One video shows one of the robbers holding a gun to the head of a female customer while a clerk empties a cash register. Another shows one of the robbers jumping a counter at another store and smashing a register to open it. In a third video, one of the robbers forces a clerk to the floor at gunpoint.

No one was hurt during the robberies.

A joint press release will be released by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, North Miami Beach Police Department and Aventura Police Department on Monday. They said the investigation is on going at this time.

Leverock said the FBI got involved because the robberies interfered with interstate commerce, goods that crossed state lines, and because of the violent nature of the crimes. The alleged robbers will be federally charged.

"South Florida is a safer place with these two alleged robbers off the street," Leverock said.

Ed Komenda and Juan Ortega contributed to this report.


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