Masked man holds tourists at gunpoint in Lauderdale Lakes

LAUDERDALE LAKES, FLA. (WSVN) - A trip to the pump took a dangerous turn when an alleged crook targeted tourists at a gas station.

According to officials, a group visiting South Florida was held at gunpoint when they stopped for gas, Thursday, at around 9:30 p.m. “At first, I thought it was a joke,” the victim said. “This guy has a gun, for real? Right here in the middle of the gas station? I couldn’t believe it.”

The Broward Sheriff’s Office responded to calls of the armed robbery at a RaceTrac, located at 4697 N. State Road, and said the suspect was wearing a mask and carrying a weapon.

The victim, who asked to remain anonymous, remained calm while being held at gunpoint. “I’m getting ready to punch my code in, and he said ‘Give me your keys,'” said the victim. “I turn around, and he’s pointing a shotgun at me. A sawed off shotgun, with a brown handle.”

The victim went on to tell the gunman he didn’t have any keys. “I said, ‘What keys? What keys you talking about?’ He said, ‘Give me your keys.’ I said, ‘I don’t have any keys.’ I got my hands out like this,” explained the victim. “‘I don’t have any keys!’ He said, ‘The keys in the car.’ I said, ‘There’s no keys.'”

The keys were in the car, along with the victim’s wife. However, thanks to his quick thinking and heroic actions, the victim was able to stall the suspect long enough to draw attention away from his wife and duck to safety.

“My wife’s in the car, so I’m not gonna say, ‘The keys in the car,'” said the victim. “I’m just gonna play dumb. ‘What keys you talking about,’ you know? And basically, I just started backing up as far as I can and see that he lowered the shotgun or something, and I ducked in front of the car.”

That’s when the suspect fired the weapon, officials said, striking the side of the vehicle before he ran away. “As I was running, I was trying to holler back at my wife, ‘Lock the car,’ and I’m telling the other guy, ‘Hey, man, he has a gun,'” the victim said.

The suspect fled to a nearby Bank of America that same day, where his second attempt at armed robbery was more successful.

According to BSO, the suspect may have fled in a tinted, silver four-door car.

No injuries were reported at either location.

As for the victims, they said they need a vacation before their real vacation even starts. “I’m not too bad. I was really, really shaken up for a little while, but I’m OK now but – just try to get this behind me, I guess,” said the victim.

BSO is still actively searching for the subject. If you have any information on this armed robbery, 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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