Suspect arrested in connection with armed robbery in Arlington Park

20-year-old being held under $15,000 bond

Kris Burstein Jr. Photo courtesy Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office

A 20-year-old Sarasota County man has been charged with armed robbery in connection with a July 17 incident at Arlington Park in Sarasota, the Sarasota Police Department has reported.

Kris Anthony Burstein Jr., of 2646 51st Street in Sarasota, was arrested on July 25, law enforcement documents show. He remained in the Sarasota County Jail this week on $15,000 bond, with his arraignment set for Sept. 22, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office Corrections Division record showed.

Burstein also was charged with two counts of probation violation, Corrections Division records noted.

Arlington Park is located at 2650 Waldemere St. in Sarasota.

On July 17, the Police Department issued an advisory about the alleged armed robbery, saying that a suspect was seen leaving the park about 4:30 p.m. that day. Witnesses described him as a Hispanic male in his late 20s or early 30s, that report added.

The Probable Cause Affidavit says the victim of the alleged robbery told officers that she was walking around the track at the park “when she was approached by a white male riding a scooter. The male asked for a cigarette,” the affidavit adds, and came closer to the victim. Then the suspect showed the victim a weapon with a sharp edge and demanded that the victim hand over the Apple iPhone that she was carrying, the affidavit continues.

“The victim gave the suspect the phone,” the affidavit adds, and then the suspect demanded that the victim give him her password and her purse. When the victim refused and attempted to leave, the affidavit says, the suspect “grabbed the victim around the waist with one hand” and placed the weapon to her chest with his other hand. “The victim screamed, pulled away and ran to the park office area,” where she called 911, the affidavit adds.

With the victim having provided a description of the suspect, the affidavit continues, officers canvassed the area but were unable to locate the suspect.

The affidavit then notes that the “victim’s cell phone pinged in the area of Swift Road and Proctor Road.” A Sheriff’s Office deputy spoke with a clerk at the 7-Eleven standing at 4779 Swift Road, the affidavit says. The clerk reported that a person matching the description of the suspect had been in the store earlier, the affidavit says. The clerk then provided video surveillance to the deputy; a still photo of the suspect was created from the video and distributed publicly via social media and local law enforcement agencies, the affidavit notes.

On July 19, the deputy informed a Sarasota Police Department detective that the person in the photo had been identified as Kris Burstein Jr. As a result, the affidavit continues, Police Department detectives organized a photo line-up for the victim, who positively identified Burstein as the suspect.

These are part of the grounds at Arlington Park on Waldemere Street in Sarasota. Image courtesy City of Sarasota

Prior charges

A Sarasota News Leader search of 12th Judicial Circuit Court records found that, in December 2021, Burstein was charged with a felony count of Theft by Employee. In that incident, he allegedly stole $597 from a money bag stored in a back room; the business was not identified.

The person who reported that incident to law enforcement officers advised them that she had told Burstein to return the money before 5 p.m. the same day she discovered that the bag was missing, but he did not do so, that Probable Cause Affidavit says.

Video surveillance at the business showed Burstein taking the bag, the affidavit notes.

In early February of this year, court records show, Burstein pleaded “No Contest” to the charge. He was ordered to pay restitution, and he was placed on probation for 24 months. Further, he was ordered to pay court costs, fines and fees adding up to $513.

In another incident, which was reported in January 2022, Burstein was charged with a misdemeanor count of simple battery in connection with a domestic violence incident, court records show.

The Probable Cause Affidavit in that case said that the victim told law enforcement officers that Burstein hit the victim’s arm “and proceeded to charge him” during a physical altercation. Another person, whose name was redacted in the affidavit, corroborated the victim’s statement.

In a sworn written statement, the affidavit continues, Burstein acknowledged engaging in the fight. He alleged that the victim had told him repeatedly to “ ‘shut the f*** up,’ pushed him into the wall, punched him in the head and then wrestled him to the fridge,” the affidavit says.

The altercation continued into the living room, the affidavit notes, where, Burstein wrote, the victim brought Burstein “to the floor after putting him in a headlock.” After Burstein was able to get up, the affidavit adds, he called the police.

In contrast, the affidavit points out, the victim alleged that after Burstein came home from work at McDonald’s, Burstein and the victim were watching TV when Burstein “became antagonistic and verbally disrespectful” to the victim. The scuffle ensued, the affidavit says.

During the investigation, one person told officers that Burstein had been diagnosed with a health problem that causes him to display aggressive behavior, the affidavit points out.

Ultimately, the State Attorney’s Office for the 12th Judicial Circuit declined to prosecute Burstein in that case, court records show.