SpongeBob SquarePants AK-47 Robbery Spree Ends With Arrests
|Surveillance footage of a SpongeBob robbery at a 7-11 three months ago.|
Last night, Orlando cops finally closed in on the four men they say have been terrorizing Central Florida businesses with a wave of AK-47-armed robberies -- sometimes clad in a SpongeBob mask straight out of David Lynch's sickest nightmares.
Police arrested four men: Gabriel Alberto Aviles, Luis Manuel O'Neil-Rodriguez and Gary Alvelo-Aponte, who are all 21 years old, and 22-year-old Miguel Lopez-Vasquez.
Detectives have been looking for suspects since July, when the terrifying surveillance footage pictured above was captured during an armed robbery at an Orlando 7-11; the SpongeBob-masked assailant fired shots into a ceiling and toward a cashier, but no harm was done, other than to the psyches of cartoon-character fearing merchants everywhere.
The spree stretched into eight robberies from Orange to Osceola counties, the Orlando Sentinel reports, and with the gang picking up nearly $40,000 in loot.
The reign of terror's end came early on Tuesday morning when the gang tried to hold up a Best Vacation Inn, not realizing they were being tailed by detectives who'd been tipped off to their identity by a previous victim.
They followed the men back to their hideout at an apartment complex, and charged them with armed robbery with a firearm and assault, among other felonies.
None of the men have criminal backgrounds, other than a handful of traffic cases for Aviles', according to Riptide's records search.
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