South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com
Four robbers sought in shootings at a Delray Beach Dunkin' Donuts shop
Gunmen shoot 3 customers, driver in Delray
By Maria Herrera
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
November 28, 2008
It was the stuff of nightmares: Four men wearing masks, guns drawn, burst through the door and order everyone to the floor. Customers scream, employees run for the panic button.
But this wasn't a jewelry store or even a bank. It was a Dunkin' Donuts shop, where elderly residents gathered late Wednesday for a cup of joe, maybe to talk about Thanksgiving plans or simply to stay warm.
Dressed in black, the four robbers began wreaking havoc on the 4800 block of West Atlantic Avenue at 10:22 p.m.
Two jumped the counter and ordered an employee to open the register. The other two terrorized customers.
After only one and one-half minutes, four people had been shot.
"This is a senseless crime," police spokesman Jeff Messer said.
What they stole: "It couldn't have been more than a couple of hundred dollars," Messer said.
The four men rifled through everyone's pockets and cleaned out the register. On a surveillance video released to police, the men are seen pushing patrons to the ground. Two held handguns. One had a shotgun, police said.
As the men began to leave, one of them drew the shotgun close to a customer's face and pulled the trigger at close range. Then he fired at another.
Investigators said a man driving a Chevrolet Lumina on Whatley Road flashed his high beams at the fleeing robbers as they ran in front of him. One of the robbers fired at the car, hitting the man in the face through the windshield.
A fourth victim later showed up at the VA Medical Center in Riviera Beach with what police described as a shotgun pellet wound to his leg.
Police did not release the identity of the victims. Two were taken to Delray Medical Center; all are expected to recover.
Police said the robbers are dangerous. Messer said they shot innocent victims who could not have identified any of them through their masks.
"The act itself is so heinous," Messer said. "They started randomly shooting people who were compliant."
The stand-alone store abuts quiet residential neighborhoods, small shopping centers and offices. Customers drove up to the store throughout Thursday afternoon, only to turn around when they saw police tape. "We are working with our franchisee, Hitish Patel, who is supporting the efforts of the local authorities," Dunkin' Donuts spokesman Andrew Mastrangelo said in a written statement. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families."
Police are offering a $5,000 reward to anyone with information that leads to an arrest, in addition to a $1,000 reward offered by Crime Stoppers.
Investigators ask anyone with information to call the Police Department at 561-243-7800 or Crime Stoppers at 800-458-8477.
Staff Writer Brian Haas contributed to this report.