Search underway for attempted carjacking suspects armed with AK-47s in Lakeland

Polk County

LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) – Police are searching for two suspects connected to an attempted carjacking on Gary Road in Lakeland Tuesday afternoon.

They were carrying AK-47s, according to Lakeland police.

“It was terrifying and it’s going to stick with me for the rest of my life,” said Sally Crisp.

(Courtesy Lakeland Police Department)

She watched it all unfold through the glass front door of Ben’s Paint Supply, where she works.

“I notice out of the corner of my eye someone running across the parking lot with a mask and a machine gun,” she said. “All I kept thinking was, ‘Call 911 and lock the door.'”

What she and her co-worker witnessed midday Tuesday was an attempted carjacking.

“I was terrified. I was absolutely terrified.”

Would-be carjackers ran up to a parked car wearing handkerchiefs across their faces and pointing AK-47s, according to police. One suspect hit the window with his rifle.

(Courtesy Lakeland Police Department)

They picked a car with a retired police officer behind the wheel, Crisp said.

“He actually had his wallet in his lap so he picked it up and flashed his badge and that’s what made the two guys run and take off,” she said.

The suspects’ car, a black or dark charcoal gray GMC Acadia, was spotted Tuesday night in the Combee Road area by Polk County Sheriff’s Office deputies.

It fled the area and was found abandoned at Crystal Hills Loop later that night.

Lakeland Police and PCSO set up a perimeter but did not locate the men.

(Courtesy Lakeland Police Department)

They’re described as two black men, approximately 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighing approximately 150 pounds.

“If they are willing to do this type of crime in broad daylight and brandish those types of weapons, we certainly want to identify them as soon as possible,” said Robin Tillett, from Lakeland PD.

The incident gave Sally Crisp nightmares.

“I hugged my kids extra and it was very scary. We cried, me and my coworker, after it was like, settled down after a few minutes. It just hit us like ‘Whoa, that could have been so much worse,’” she said.

If you recognize the men or have any relevant information, police urge you to contact Detective Ted Sealey at (863) 834-5991. You can also submit anonymous trips through Heartland Crime Stoppers Florida. You can call 1-800-226 TIPS (8477), visit the website and click on “Submit A Tip” or download the free “P3tips” app on your smartphone or tablet.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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