Serial Robbery Suspect is a Person of Interest in Weekend Incidents
Shane Hunter was arrested after robbing a tanning salon for the third time and has a similar description to the man suspected in some robberies from Sunday, officials say.
A man accused of robbing the same New Port Richey area tanning salon thrice over the past month is being looked at as a person of interest in a string of strong-arm robberies that occurred this past weekend.
Shane Austin Hunter was arrested Tuesday and charged with three counts of robbery with a deadly weapon or firearm: one charge for each time he is said to have held up the salon.
Hunter, 32, is similar enough in description to a man accused of robbing two women over the weekend that detectives are “closely looking at him as a person of interest” in the weekend robbery case, said Doug Tobin, a spokesman for the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.
The first of the three tanning salon robberies happened in the afternoon on Aug. 3. Hunter walked into the House of Tans, 7266 State Road 54, in the Seven Springs Shopping Plaza in the New Port Richey area and revealed he had a large knife, according to an arrest report. He had material covering his face.
He told an employee “give me all the cash that’s in the draw,” and when she handed over money, he said “That’s it?” and fled west on foot. Deputies searched for him but did not find him.
On Aug. 13, deputies say, Hunter returned to House of Tans, entered through the front door around 10:45 a.m., approached a female employee while she was mopping and pulled a knife from his pocket. He again had his face covered.
The employee stated, “Really, again,” according to an arrest report. Hunter, the report says, replied “Yeah, again.”
He followed the employee to the cash register, and as she was getting money out and said “Give me all of it this time.” The employee gave him the money, and Hunter fled west.
On Tuesday, Aug. 28, deputies say Hunter again returned to House of Tans and was armed with a long-bladed knife. He demanded money from the register and pointed the knife at a victim. The woman gave him cash, and he ran.
This time residents pursued Hunter, and he dove into the Anclote River and then got out of the river on the other side. The people chasing Hunter caught up to him, and he was eventually detained by an off-duty Florida Highway Patrol trooper.
Hunter was behind bars in the Land O' Lakes Jail Wednesday in lieu of $150,000 bond. He admitted to robbing the salon to support an addiction to pills, according to arrest reports.
Hunter, of 7418 Abington Ave., New Port Richey, has brown hair, is 5 feet, 8 inches tall, weighs at least 170 pounds and is unshaven.
That description is similar that of a man who snatched an elderly woman’s purse Sunday and pushed her down. She suffered a broken hip and was hospitalized. That same man is suspected of robbing another woman earlier that same day.
The man in the Sunday robberies is described as being about 5 feet, 8 inches tall and weighing about 160 pounds. The man is also described as having a fair complexion, scruffy beard, dark brown hair and light blue eyes. He was last seen wearing a brown T-shirt, brown and blue ball cap, and oversized blue jean shorts.
“Thanks to the press's reporting on this case Detective Lisa Schoneman says she has received a number of tips in the case that she is actively pursuing," Tobin said.