Brandon merchant fights armed robber

BRANDON — An armed man tried to rob the Union Street Grocery store Saturday night, and police have a suspect.
Brandon Police Chief Chris Brickell on Monday said the lone male allegedly entered the store at 8 p.m. on Aug. 21 and demanded cash from owner Raj Mastaram, who sounded an alarm. A fight ensued, which continued outside the store in the parking lot.
Brickell said two men driving by the store heard the alarm and saw the storeowner fighting with the assailant in the parking lot. They stopped and came to Mastaram’s aid, and the suspect fled the scene on foot, Brickell said. The men chased the suspect through several backyards, but the suspect got away. The chief said police dogs were used to track the suspect’s scent, but the animals were unable to locate the suspect. The weapon has not been recovered.
The same store was robbed in a similar fashion on Oct. 28, 2009, but Brickell said he does not believe the same suspect is responsible. No arrests were made after an investigation into the 2009 robbery.
Brickell said there is a suspect in Saturday’s robbery based on a description from a witness, and the department is in the process of locating that suspect.
“I don’t believe the same person is responsible for both incidents,” Brickell said.
Anyone with additional information about the attempted robbery should contact Officer Spaulding of the Brandon Police Department at 247-0222, ext. 213.

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