Date: April 12, 2002 "For Immediate Release"
To: News Media
From: Sheriff Lawrence W. Crow, Jr.
Media Contact: Michal Shanley, (863) 534-6631 or 819-0397 pager
Suspects Caught On Video Linked To Homicide/Robbery At Angel Food Store 

Polk County Sheriff's Office Homicide Detectives have linked three unidentified suspects caught on videotape committing a robbery at a car wash to the homicide/robbery of an Auburndale convenience store manager in March.

The homicide/robbery occurred at around 10:43 a.m. on Mar. 22, 2002, at the Angel Food Store located at 1401 Hwy 92 West in Auburndale.  During the robbery, both the manager, Chaiman Patel, DOB 5/1/48, of Lakeland, and his wife, Hansa Patel, DOB 9/20/47, were shot multiple times.  Chaiman Patel was pronounced dead at the scene and his wife was transported to Lakeland Regional Medical Center where she received treatment for non-life threatening injuries. The suspect is described as a black male in his 20's, with a slender build, wearing a black “do rag” or bandana, black cargo style pants and a black long sleeve shirt. He was armed with a handgun.  After shooting both victims, the suspect fled from the scene on foot with an undisclosed amount of money.

Follow-up investigation into the homicide revealed a definite link between the suspect in the Angel Food Store homicide and a car wash robbery in which three suspects were captured on video. The car wash robbery occurred on Mar. 28, 2002, at approximately 1 a.m. at the Wash-N-Rite car  wash located in the 2600 block of Avenue V NW in Winter Haven. Three black male suspects approached a couple while they were washing their car and attempted to rob them. One of the suspects was armed with a handgun. The victims fled from the scene, unharmed, before they could be robbed. All three suspects are described as black males, between the ages of 18 to 20 years old, approximately 5'10 and of average build.

Detectives are asking for the media and the public's assistance in identifying the suspects. Video from the car  wash robbery is available in two formats:

Real Player

Windows Media Player

Video (484 Kb)

Video (796 Kb)

The suspects are pictured in the background of the video as they enter and then leave the car wash.

Anyone with information concerning the whereabouts of the suspect is asked to contact Polk County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-226-TIPS (8477).  Callers can remain completely anonymous and be eligible for up to a $2,000 reward.

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Distribution: Undersheriff, Division Commanders, Communications, News Media

A text only version of this release is also available.

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