A two-week, multistate manhunt for an allegedly armed couple likened to a modern-day “Bonnie and Clyde” has ended with one suspect dead and the other in a hospital awaiting her arrest.
Law enforcement in at least four states had been trying to track Blake Fitzgerald and girlfriend Brittany Harper in connection to a string of what they say were armed robberies and hostage-taking incidents. The search ended early this morning when Fitzgerald died in a shootout with police in Pensacola, Florida.
Harper was taken to a hospital for her non-life threatening injuries and is expected to be criminally charged today, authorities said.
Police are still looking at the couple’s possible connections to other robbery investigations, but here is a list of crimes in which investigators believe they were involved.
Friday, Jan. 22
Police wanted to speak to the couple in connection to a Joplin, Missouri, home break-in where guns were stolen, The Associated Press reported.
Sunday, Jan. 31
The U.S. Marshals released information saying that Fitzgerald and Harper’s "string of crimes" started in force Sunday when they allegedly kidnapped a clerk at the Microtel Inn in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. They allegedly kidnapped the man and drove to Birmingham with him in his car.
The clerk, Kyle Dease, told Al.com that the couple told him they were headed to Florida where they wanted to get married and start a new life together.
Authorities say the couple eventually ditched both Dease and his car, and the U.S. Marshals believe that Fitzgerald then broke into a family’s home in Vestavia Hills, Alabama, allegedly threatened the unidentified wife with a gun, and then forced her to come with him as he stole their car. She was later released unharmed, the U.S. Marshals said in a statement.
Monday, Feb. 1
It's believed the couple moved on to Georgia where they allegedly continued the same tactic, with the U.S. Marshals saying the couple robbed a convenience store, kidnapping and eventually releasing the clerk.
Wednesday, Feb. 3
By mid-week, they are believed to have made it to Florida where investigators say they are connected to two robberies in Walnut Hills and Destin.
Thursday, Feb. 4
Police in Pensacola, Florida, received a call at 7:56 p.m. about a Famous Footwear store being robbed at gunpoint.
Witnesses told deputies that a white male and a white female walked into the store and started shopping before the man robbed a cashier at gunpoint, Escambia County, Sheriff David Morgan said at a news conference today.
At the time, the female who was with him "continued to shop for shoes and socks."
The suspects fled in a car but police "lost sight of the suspect vehicle," Morgan said.
"The traffic was still fairly heavy. That’s why we lost the suspects several times through the city," he said.
"They fell off the grid for a couple of hours," Morgan said, but the suspects’ vehicle was spotted again by police at 10:16 p.m., which led to a chase.
The suspects "exited the vehicle and fled the scene on foot," Morgan said, prompting a search of residences.
Friday, Feb. 5
Police received a call from residents saying "they had been held hostage by the suspects," who allegedly fled in the residents’ red truck.
About 12:35 a.m.
Police located the truck about 10 minutes later and the shootout started.
Fitzgerald was pronounced dead at the scene and Harper was transported to a hospital after being injured during the altercation.
Around 10:45 a.m.
Harper is at a Florida hospital and will face charges of home invasion and grand theft auto, among others, authorities said.
The extent of her injuries was unclear, but State Attorney Bill Eddins said today he believed they involved her ankle and leg.