POMPANO BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - A quiet birthday celebration at an apartment complex in Pompano Beach took a troubling turn late last year when, authorities said, a group of robbers ambushed and pistol-whipped a man in the eye.
Thomas Souza was quietly marking his 22nd birthday with a friend in the pool area of the Captiva Cove apartments, located along South Dixie Highway, Dec. 11.
Surveillance video captured the subjects walking into the pool area.
Souza said there was something unsettling about them from the moment he first spotted them. “They were looking around like they were looking for someone,” he said.
The victim said he asked one of the men if they lived there. “That’s when one of the guys walked up to me and said, ‘I got something to tell you,’ and pulled out a gun and said, ‘I’m gonna need everything that’s on you right now,'” he said.
But Souza was not about to hand over his valuables, which included his grandmother’s watch. “I said, ‘No, I’m not jut going to hand it to you,’ and that’s when I feel a choke hold,” he said.
One of the subjects had grabbed Souza. Then he felt cold metal.
“He put the Glock to my face and said, ‘You give it up! Give it up!'” said Souza.
The robber snatched the gold chain he was wearing, his grandmother’s watch and his cellphone.
But the ordeal was about to get even worse. “The main guy that had the Glock, the gun to my face, came up to me and hit me right in the eye,” said Souza.
His face bleeding, Souza said, he still managed to chase the robbers into the parking lot as the thieves got into two cars and sped away.
Souza said one of the drivers struck him on his way out.
Police later arrested two of the subjects, whom they identified as Alexander Brown and Brandon Richards, both 19 years old.
Souza said Brown was the one who pistol-whipped him.
Authorities were also able to recover one of the subjects’ vehicles. Inside they found cash, a handgun and a cellphone.
Investigators said at least two other subjects remain on the run. Souza, however, said he was ambushed by five men.
Souza said he will not feel completely safe until all the robbers are behind bars. “It’s still scary to think that they want to be like thugs and, like, try to rob people for their own belongings,” he said.
If you have any information on the remaining robbers’ whereabouts, call Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $3,000 reward.
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