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UPDATED: Clearwater police say man pulled out machete during robbery

UPDATED: Clearwater police say man pulled out machete during robbery

CLEARWATER, Fla. (970 WFLA) - Clearwater Police said they have identified the man who robbed two stores earlier this week and crashed his truck Wednesday after he fled from a traffic stop.

Police said 48-year-old Willie D. Collins has been charged with two counts of armed robbery and one count of fleeing and eluding. Police said Collins remains in an area hospital where he is being treated for injuries suffered in Wednesday's crash and will be booked into the Pinellas County jail once he is medically cleared.

Police said Collins is accused of using a machete to rob the Dollar General on Myrtle Avenue on Sunday and using a knife to rob the Family Dollar on Tuesday.

He is also a suspect in two robberies that occurred in Largo at a Lowe's and a CVS on Wednesday, police said.

CPD said Collins was apprehended Wednesday afternoon shortly before 4 p.m. after he fled an attempted traffic stop near Highland Avenue and Palmetto Street. Police said he crashed his truck a few blocks later, slamming into a power pole and flipping his vehicle onto its roof.

Police said the machete and knife believed to have been used in the robberies were found in the truck, as were both shirts worn during the crimes.


CLEARWATER, Fla. (970 WFLA) –  Clearwater Police said they are trying to identify a man who has robbed two stores in three days - including one holdup in which he brandished a giant machete.

Robbery detectives released the surveillance video from both stores Wednesday morning in hopes someone will recognize him and alert authorities.

"We're extremely concerned about what might happen the next time," said Police Chief Anthony Holloway. "The first time, he was satisfied with just the money.  The second time, he lunged at the clerk with the knife and cut her.

"His level of aggression is increasing," the chief added. "That's disturbing.  We need to find him and get him off the streets."

Police said the first robbery occurred Sunday at the Dollar General, 1600 N. Myrtle Ave., shortly after noon. They said the suspect entered the store, picked up a pack of razor blades, and went to the counter to pay for them. When the clerk opened the cash drawer to conduct the transaction, police said the suspect drew a machete from his pants, held it in a threatening overhand grip, and then took the cash and ran from the scene.

Police said the machete was estimated to be between 12 and 18 inches long.

The second robbery occurred Tuesday at Family Dollar, 1279 S. Missouri Ave., shortly before noon, police said. He entered the store, selected a bag of chips, went to pay for them and as the clerk opened the cash drawer, police said he pulled a knife from his pants pocket and lunged forward over the counter, striking the clerk in the hand with the knife. Police said he ran from the store after getting cash from the clerk.

Police said the knife had a long blade as well - perhaps 6 to 8 inches.

The clerk suffered minor injuries in the robbery, according to police.

Clearwater Police released the following description: The suspect is a black male, between 45 and 50 years old who is about 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighs 175 pounds. He wears wire-rim glasses and is unshaven or has a light goatee. He has a deep voice and decayed teeth. In the second robbery, he was wearing a unique blue shirt with a white collar with the No. 99 on the back.

Police said anyone with information on who the suspect might be should call them at 562-4242 or email tipsmyclearwater.com

Photo and Video Credit Clearwater Police Department




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