Police resort to CCTV, photos and sketches in search for suspect

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Police have many tools at their disposal when they are searching for criminal suspects. Virtually all of them have been used this past week as the Orlando Police Department search for a man believed to have committed a series of robberies in Orlando and Winter Garden.

The first crime is believed to be the robbery of a CVS pharmacy in Orlando. The man then allegedly stole a car in a Walgreen's parking lot, which was later found by police. According to police, the suspect then tried unsuccessfully to steal a parked van. On Sunday, a gunman shot a customer during an attempted robbery at an ATM; the shooter is believed to be the individual involved in the prior crimes. Later that day, the same man is alleged to have robbed a Walgreen's and pistol-whipped one of his victims. The man is also suspected of stealing a car from a Petco parking lot and robbing a Dunkin' Donuts shop in downtown Orlando.

Police have released several surveillance videos of the suspect and still photos taken from the video tapes. Orlando police have released a composite sketch of the man that was derived from interviews with witnesses. Many people appear to have seen the man's face at short distances, but an officer with the Orlando Police Department said that people who have come in contact with the man were "terrified."

If a suspect is arrested, police are certain to use some of these eyewitness accounts to identify the man. But, anxiety can often adversely affect a person's ability to clearly recall an event. Identification under such circumstances can be unreliable. With the prevalence of CCTV surveillance cameras, anyone charged with robbery in a public space, such as a pharmacy or restaurant, is almost certain to face a number of photos supposedly identifying the person as the main suspect. Anyone caught in such circumstances may wish to seek the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney for advice on challenging photographic identification in court.

Source: WFTV9, "Surveillance videos, photos, composite sketch: Search for crime spree suspect continues," Kelly Healey, April 5, 2018

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