A Lake Panasoffkee man sought in connection with multiple robberies at discount stores is behind bars in the Sumter County Detention Center.
Kevin Kent Bellendorf, 47, was arrested Thursday night at his residence in Lake Panasoffkee and charged with two counts of robbery with a weapon and larceny/petit theft (third or subsequent offense). He was being held on $102,000 bond.
Bellendorf was being sought in connection with robberies at two stores in Bushnell – the Dollar General, located at 125 W. Belt Ave., and the Family Dollar, at 316 N. Main Street. It is believed that Bellendorf may also have committed numerous other similar robberies in Citrus and Hernando Counties, a Sumter County Sheriff’s Office report states.
A Sumter sheriff’s detective first connected Bellendorf to the robberies while investigating a retail theft that occurred at the Walmart in Bushnell, located at 2163 W C 48. The detective compared surveillance footage from that theft to those from the robberies and noticed that the suspect looked similar. Other detectives and deputies began coordinating and exchanging information and were ultimately able to identify Bellendorf as the suspect.
Early Thursday afternoon, Bellendorf was spotted back at the Dollar General in Bushnell, where it is suspected that he was about to commit another robbery. An alert employee recognized him from a flier previously distributed by the sheriff’s office. He then apparently became suspicious and fled the area before deputies arrived, the report says.
Sumter deputies then notified their counterparts in Citrus and Hernando Counties of what had occurred and alerted them to the possibility of Bellendorf traveling to their county to commit a robbery. The sheriff’s office was later notified that he was suspected of robbing a Family Dollar Store located off U.S. Hwy. 41 in Citrus County just before 3:00 p.m.
As more information was developed, Sumter deputies located Bellendorf’s address and he was taken into custody. Citrus County sheriff’s detectives also responded to Bellendorf’s residence to coordinate investigative efforts.
During an interview, Sumter sheriff’s officials say Bellendorf admitted responsibility for the robberies in all three counties. He is expected to face additional charges in Hernando and Citrus counties, the report says.