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A hotel clerk kidnapped at gunpoint by Bonnie-and-Clyde-style bandits now wanted in a multi-state crime spree said the couple was hearing wedding bells when they went on the run.
"They wanted to get married," said Kyle Dease, 26, who was abducted by the armed-and-dangerous lovebirds for a couple of hours. "They wanted to escape and start new lives."
U.S. Marshals are offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the capture of Blake Edward Fitzgerald, 30, and girlfriend Brittany Nicole Harper, 30, who are considered armed and dangerous.
But Dease, who has watched with dread as the fugitives have carried out more kidnappings and robberies, fears they won't go peacefully.
"I doubt they will turn themselves in. I know he doesn't want to go back to prison," said Dease. "Hopefully it ends with no bloodshed and no one gets hurt, but I doubt it."
"I started praying and trying to accept the fact that I could die now ... And then I blacked out for 10 to 15 minutes."
Authorities said the suspects are drug users with a history of violent crimes. They may be driving a black Ford F-150 truck with a broken rear right window, officials say.
The duo, who are from Missouri, allegedly stole firearms in their home state before hitting the road and heading south.
On Sunday morning, they showed up at the Microtel Inn and Suites in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and told Dease they had run out of gas. He gave them a number for a cab company and as they waited for a ride, they peppered him with requests to use to restroom, drink water and use the lobby computer.
Dease said he chatted them up, talking about a tornado that had devastated their hometown of Joplin and their plans to head to Florida. Then Harper walked outside, and Fitzgerald pulled out a gun and demanded money.
"He thought that I had called the cops so he said he had to take me with them," Dease recalled.
Outside, they moved their bags from their vehicle into Dease's girlfriend's Jetta, made him get in the back and said they would let him go and return the car in Birmingham.
"I just tried to stay calm and keep them calm," Dease said. "I was cracking jokes, trying to keep it light."
They decided they needed to steal another car and made Dease cover up under a blanket in the back seat while they looked for one. In Hoover, they tried to pulled off a carjacking but it went awry and they sped off, Dease said.
"The only time I really felt like I was in danger was when they screwed up in Hoover," he said. "They were driving really fast and he waved the gun at me.
"I started praying and trying to accept the fact that I could die now," he said. "And then I blacked out for 10 to 15 minutes."
When he came to, Harper and Fitzgerald booted him from the car and he found himself in Vestavia Hills. His two-hour ordeal was over — but the pair's crime binge was just beginning.
After getting rid of the Jetta, Fitzgerald snuck into a Vestavia Hills home through the garage and told the owner he was having car trouble. Then he pulled out a gun, stole the car keys and forced the man's wife into the vehicle, according to local police.
Harper then joined them and they drove to Birmingham, where they released their female captive in front of a hospital unharmed, the Marshals said.
The next day, they robbed a convenience store in Perry, Georgia, briefly kidnapping the clerk, authorities said. They also are suspected in two more stickups in Florida on Wednesday.
“Thankfully, no innocent member of the public has been physically harmed by this modern-day Bonnie and Clyde, but the couple is armed and dangerous,” said U.S. Marshal Martin Keely of the Northern District of Alabama.
Fitzgerald is described as white, 5-foot-6, 160 pounds with a shaved head, hazel eyes and many tattoos. Harper is white, 5-foot-10, 130 pounds with blue eyes and strawberry blond hair.