Police agencies band together to put an end to serial robberies of fast-food restaurants
WEST VALLEY CITY — Police throughout the Salt Lake Valley are asking for help in solving a string of armed robberies at area fast-food restaurants.
Police said at least 12 and possibly as many as 17 restaurants have been hit by the same robbers. The circumstances are similar in a dozen of the robberies: The robbers show up at closing time, brandish a gun and demand money. They often wear bandanas or ski masks and, in some cases, customers in the restaurants have come face to face with the bandits.
“There is some potential for some serious violence,” West Valley City Police Sgt. Mike Powell said. “We don’t want that to occur. We want this string of armed robberies to stop.”
On Thursday police departments from West Valley, Salt Lake City, Murray, Taylorsville and Salt Lake County joined forces in asking for tips leading to the identities of the robbers.
“If you know this individual, you are going to recognize him from (the) photo,” said Salt Lake City Police Sgt. Carl Merino. “The photo has been released in the past. We haven’t received any calls. We need somebody to call us and tell us who this guy might be.”
The surveillance photo is of a robbery at a Dominos Pizza restaurant in Murray on Jan. 8. The suspect's face is visible in the photo.
The robberies may have started as early as Oct. 7, 2011, at a Beans and Brews coffee shop at 2707 S. Highland. Police said robbers also hit a Chuck-A-Rama on 400 South in Salt Lake City the next day. Several restaurants were hit between Oct. 7, 2011, and Jan. 19, 2012. Restaurants targeted by the robbers include Pizza Hut, Apollo Burger, Taco Time, Arby's, Little Caesars and El Pollo Royo. The robberies happened between 7:45 and 11:05 p.m.
“There have been other customers present in some of the businesses at the time the robberies did occur, and there were no injuries reported, and we'd like to keep it that way,” Powell said.
Police departments are increasing patrols around fast-food restaurants in an effort to deter robbery attempts.
A $2,500 reward is offered by the police agencies for information in connection with the robberies. Anyone with information is asked to call 801-840-4000.
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