BREAKING NEWS

Man Armed With Gun Poses As Cop, Handcuffs Couple Inside Their Home During Robbery, Authorities Say

florida suspect
Source: Volusia County Sheriff’s Office; UNSPLASH

Oct. 13 2022, Published 2:09 p.m. ET

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A suspect posing as a police officer held up a Florida couple at their home, but they managed to fight back, leading to his arrest, authorities said.

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Shortly before 11 a.m. on Oct. 11, a man arriving to his home in Deltona said he was approached by the suspect, who was armed with an AR-15-style rifle and wearing a mask, bulletproof vest and silver badge, according to an affidavit obtained by WFTV.

The man told police the suspect forced him into his home, where he handcuffed him and his wife, deputies said.

The suspect, later identified as Kissimmee resident Carmelo Cruz, 44, demanded the couple hand over guns and money to him, according to the affidavit. When the man told Cruz he had no cash, the suspect allegedly began searching the residence while continuing to hold the couple at gunpoint.

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According to deputies, the woman said at one point she noticed Cruz’s gun was unloaded when he set it down, and she managed to free herself from the handcuffs and attack the suspect in the driveway of their home while screaming for help.

During the scuffle, the couple was able to get ahold of Cruz’s phone, mask and badge before he fled in a black SUV, deputies said.

Investigators later identified Cruz through a utility bill and Delta boarding passes registered in his name found outside the victims' home as well as via fingerprints, the affidavit reads.

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Cruz, who was out on parole at the time of the incident, faces charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, home invasion, false imprisonment, and impersonating a law enforcement officer.

He was being held at the Volusia County jail.

“Nothing like that ever really happened before. The impersonation part is what caught us off guard,” the couple's neighbor, Jason Thornton, told WKMG-TV, noting he phoned 911 when they heard the screaming. “We’re trying to figure out if this is a cop, is it not a cop, what’s going on? You see a badge on so it was weird."

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