Suspects in Ninja Robberies in Custody: FBI

Men arrested after police-involved shooting connected to string of armed robberies: Authorities

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Clifton Raymond Lamothe and Michael Anthony Gonzalez, both 31, are facing charges in connection with the recent string of "ninja robberies" throughout South Florida, court papers said. Mohammed Huq, who may have been the robbers' last victim, told NBC 6 South Florida about the robbery of his Dania Beach convenience store Friday night. (Published Monday, Sep 10, 2012)

    Two men arrested after a police-involved shooting in Hollywood Friday night are facing charges in connection with the recent string of "ninja robberies" throughout South Florida, court papers showed.

    Clifton Raymond Lamothe and Michael Anthony Gonzalez, both 31, were arrested on robbery charges, according to a criminal complaint obtained by NBC 6 South Florida Monday.

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    The ninja-like thief has carried out 11 armed robberies of stores in South Florida, said the FBI, which is offering $5,000 for information leading to the arrest of the suspect. Store manager Sanjoy Saha and Thomas Carney of the North Miami Beach Police discussed the case. (Published Wednesday, Aug 29, 2012)

    Mohammed Huq may have been the robbers' last victim Friday night. His convenience store, the 2 Quick Food Store at 348 Southwest 13th Street in Dania Beach was robbed by a suspect in ninja-like attire, the complaint said.

    "He put his gun, point at my head, and he told me back up and give him all the money and whatever I had in the register," Huq said.

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    A masked man could be responsible for as many as 12 store robberies throughout the region, authorities said. Michael Stein with the North Miami Beach Police spoke about the suspect's actions. (Published Tuesday, Aug 28, 2012)

    He said he thought it was a joke when he saw the man dressed as a ninja come in.

    Ninja-Like Robber Caught on Camera

    According to the complaint, the FBI started investigating the suspects after the Aug. 26 robbery of the BP gas station at 15200 Biscayne Boulevard in North Miami Beach.

    Like several other robberies throughout Miami-Dade and Broward dating back to May, the BP station was robbed at gunpoint by a suspect who was dressed in ninja-like attire, the complaint said.

    The suspect was able to get $1,500 in cash from the station and fled the scene on foot.

    When authorities reviewed surveillance footage from a nearby business, it showed the robber had used a black BMW, the complaint said.

    As authorities were canvassing a neighborhood on Aug. 31, they spotted the BMW and ran the license plate, which came back to Lamothe, the complaint said.

    A warrant was obtained and authorities placed a tracking device on the BMW.

    According to the complaint, the tracking device placed Lamothe's BMW in the vicinity of the Dania Beach store at the time of the most recent robbery on Friday.

    When authorities tried to stop the car, Gonzalez, who was in the passenger side, tried to get out and was shot by an officer, the complaint said.

    Inside the car, authorities found a firearm, the ninja-like clothing and cash, the complaint said.

    According to Florida Department of Law Enforcement spokesman Bob Breeden, the suspect was shot by an Aventura Police officer in the 600 block of Ocean Drive in Hollywood. He was hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries.

    When authorities interviewed Lamothe, he admitted to being the getaway driver in the BP and 2 Quick robberies, the complaint said.

    Gonzalez told authorities he'd robbed approximately 10-12 other businesses, including the 2 Quick Food Store, and said Lamothe acted as the getaway driver in all but one of the robberies, the complaint said.

    The so-called "ninja robbers" held up a gas station and liquor store in Fort Lauderdale and robbed three gas stations in addition to the 2 Quick robbery, according to the FBI.

    Four convenience stores and two gas stations in North Miami and North Miami Beach have also been robbed, authorities said.

    In all the robberies, the suspects are dressed as ninjas with masks and are armed. In one of the North Miami Beach robberies, on May 12, surveillance video captured a suspect putting a gun to a young woman's head.

    Last month, the FBI announced they were offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the case.

    Lamothe and Gonzalez are both being held without bond and were expected to make their first appearances in federal court Monday. It was unknown whether they have attorneys.