Video: Suspects at large after taking hostages

msnbc.com and NBC News
updated 11/18/2009 9:54:19 AM ET 2009-11-18T14:54:19

Police in Venice, Fla., said Wednesday that two suspects who attempted to rob a T.J. Maxx store Tuesday night left before police arrived, creating what they believed to be a hostage situation, the HeraldTribune.com reported.

Wendy Rose, a spokeswoman for the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office, told NBC News that everyone was accounted for and safe after a nearly four-hour ordeal that involved both employees and customers.

"There was conflicting information from witnesses that the suspects were inside," said Lt. Eric Hill, according to the HeraldTribune.com.

Police have not released descriptions of the suspects. A few of the people inside the store were hiding, but police would not say why it took so long for all of them to come out.

"I don't know that information," Hill told the HeraldTribune.com. "There could be a lot of reasons."

After teenager Hayley Vanslow, one of the last "hostages," ran from the store at around 1:30 a.m., Sarasota County Sheriff's SWAT teams entered it and searched it but did not find the suspects. After sending in a police dog at 2:30 a.m., police cleared the scene.

For more info on this incident: HeraldTribune.com

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