Robbery suspects

Investigators are trying to identify the three men inside this Hyundai Santa Fe, which was photographed by surveillance cameras Thursday morning, shortly before or after a strong-arm robbery outside an Elkton-area convenience store.

ELKTON — Three men remained on the loose last Thursday night after punching a woman in the face during a strong-arm robbery outside a convenience store near Elkton earlier that day, according to the Cecil County Sheriff’s Office.

The incident occurred at approximately 10 a.m. Thursday in the parking lot of the Wawa at 1741 Elkton Rd. (Route 279), near the Fletchwood Road intersection, a short distance southwest of the Delaware state line, police reported.

Lt. Michael Holmes, a CCSO spokesman, told the Cecil Whig that the woman, who is in her 30s, was taken to Union Hospital in Elkton, where she was treated for facial injuries suffered from the punch and from her fall to the pavement after the blow.

The woman had parked her vehicle at the fuel island, while the three suspects were inside a Hyundai Santa Fe that was parked nearby, police said. At some point, at least one of the men got out of the sport utility vehicle and entered the woman’s vehicle at the gas pumps, stealing her purse, some cash and other property before returning to the SUV, police added.

“It was a crime of opportunity,” Holmes commented.

But the woman witnessed the theft as she reportedly was walking back to her vehicle from the store and she then approached the suspects, according to police.

“The female confronted them about the theft. She was standing at the passenger’s side door. The suspects started to drive away and the victim grabbed the door. One of the men struck her in the face as they were fleeing, and she fell to the ground, away from the suspects’ vehicle,” Holmes outlined.

The suspects’ SUV was last seen heading toward Delaware on Route 279.

CCSO detectives gleaned a surveillance photo of the suspects’ Hyundai, which had a New York license plate, and they later determined that it had been reported stolen in New York City, he said. Before the strong-arm robbery had occurred, Holmes noted, the three men had occupied the parked SUV in that Wawa parking lot for quite a while.

“They were lingering there,” Holmes said, adding, “People already had told management that the vehicle and the three men in it were suspicious,” Holmes said.

Investigators are circulating a surveillance photo of the Santa Fe — in which the front-seat passenger can be seen — in hopes that someone will be able to identify one or all of the men allegedly responsible for the strong-arm robbery.

Anyone with information that might help in this robbery investigation is asked to call Det. Tyler Price of the Cecil County Sheriff’s Office at 410-392-2124.

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