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In the period of just a few hours, three elderly people in Manatee County came face-to-face with an armed attacker who wanted their money, deputies said Wednesday.
At a little after 8 a.m. on Saturday, an older couple was walking down the 4000 block of 5th Street East in Bradenton when they were attacked. Deputies said they were almost home when someone knocked the 90-year-old husband to the ground and took the cash in his wallet.
Investigators said, as the victim's 85-year-old wife tried to help, the attacker hit her too.
"They are coming back from a walk, just strolling along, and they get accosted by the suspect," said Dave Bristow, a spokesperson for the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.
And later, at about 11:20 a.m., a 99-year-old man was getting out of his car in a shopping center on 53rd Avenue West.
FOX 13 News spoke with that victim, who didn't want to be identified because his attacker was still on the loose.
"He pinned me down. With one arm [around my neck], he had me here and the other arm, had me with the gun in my head," the victim said, as he relived the suspect's threats. "'Make one move, you're dead,' [the attacker] said. 'I'll blow your head off.' That's what he said."
The victim said he thought for a moment he might not make it to his 100th birthday in February.
"If I would have tried to resist him, he'd have maybe pulled the trigger. I'd have probably been gone," he said.
"What's wrong with people like that?"
Deputies were able to get a picture of the suspect's vehicle from surveillance video recorded in the shopping center where the 99-year-old man was attacked.
"The common denominator we have here is a white pickup truck seen at both scenes," Bristow said, adding it's important they get this criminal off the streets. "It's very fortunate that we didn't have bad injuries here. We didn't have any injuries, really. We had the 90- and 85-year-old get assaulted, but they weren't injured. The 99-year-old wasn't injured at all. We're very, very fortunate. But who knows? That's why we got to get this guy off the street because who knows what he's capable of. He's out there robbing these people that are almost 100-years-old and the next time it happens, we may not be as fortunate."
Detectives were reviewing surveillance video, but had not been able to identify a license plate number. Anyone with information is asked to call the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.