GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WOGX FOX 51) - Gainesville police officers are warning residents about a rash of robberies by armed suspects carrying BB guns. Angelica Fernow was one of the victims of a robbery.
“She had her hand out like this, with the gun,” she said, as she gestured with her hand. “I was unsure if I was gonna die,” she explained.
Police say the weapon of choice was a BB gun. Fernow didn't know that at the time and was terrified
“I couldn’t tell if it was real or not,” she explained. “There was no way to tell.”
Police say 20-year-old Keshunte Taylor is in jail in Alachua County, charged in connection with the robbery.
They are seeing case after case of this.
Ben Tobias, spokesman for the Gainesville Police Department, said, “The Department is trying to warn people about this before someone gets hurt or killed.”
Tobias added, “The reports that I’ve seen involving these realistic-looking BB guns are way more than last year.”
Three weeks ago, police told FOX 35 a middle school student put a BB Gun to another student’s head during a school bus argument, along NE 25th Terrance.
“I think teens are looking for something that looks realistic,” Tobias said.
Gainesville Police showed us a side-by-side comparison of real-looking BB guns next to a department-issued 40-caliber.
“Looks identical, even at a close distance,” Tobias said, as he held a BB gun and a real gun next to each other. “If you really look, you can see where the cut out is a little bit smaller for the BB projectile instead.”
GPD is pushing for major retailers to keep realistic BB guns behind the counter, and are reminding officers what to look for.”
Fernow doesn’t want others to stare down the barrel in fear of a BB gun that looks real.
“If anybody goes through what I did, it’s a horrible feeling,” Fernow explained.
If you’re wondering, Gainesville Police told us, by law, BB guns aren’t required to have an orange tip.