A masked bandit police believe has already robbed 16 businesses may have struck again Monday.
"He's been keeping us quite busy," said Salt Lake Police Sgt. Mike Roberts.Monday morning a man robbed Thrifty Car Rental, 2400 W. North Temple. He walked into the business about 1:30 a.m., displayed a handgun and demanded cash. An employee gave him the till, and he left on foot, police said.
But the employee decided to pursue the robber, and when the suspect was a block away, he tackled him. The robber hit the employee on the head with the gun and then shocked his leg with a stun gun. Police said this disabled the clerk long enough for the bandit to escape.
During the scuffle, however, the cash spilled from the till onto the pavement. The robber got away with about half of what he originally had, Roberts said.
In 14 other robberies and two attempted robberies since Jan. 4, a man - or accomplice - has disguised himself with white ski mask and dark ski goggles and usually worn a green army-type parka. Police have nicknamed him the "condom bandit."
In Monday's robbery, the suspect wore a Halloween mask with long white hair. Even though the suspect dressed differently than the suspect in the past string of robberies, Roberts said his methods were the same. "It looks to me to be the same guy," he said.
Detectives speculate that the man (or men) may be robbing businesses to support a heavy drug habit. "It's a pattern that's very close to a daily-type habit," said the sergeant.
Roberts believes the robber may have changed his disguise because of increased media attention. "There's a lot of pressure on him because three agencies are working around the clock on him," he said.
The same robber is believed to have hit various types of businesses from banks to tanning salons. Anyone with information about the suspect is encouraged to call their local police agency.