The "Top Gun" robber took advantage of the busiest shopping day of the year Friday and apparently was in an ice cream mood - three ice cream stores in Salt Lake County and Sandy were robbed in a one-hour period.
"He hit that Baskin-Robbins at 47th South and 23rd East at 2:48 p.m., and then about 40 minutes later he hit Snelgrove's at 1050 E. Fort Union Blvd., and then about 20 minutes after that, he hit Baskin-Robbins at 94th South and Seventh East," said Sheriff Pete Hayward.In the last of the robberies, said Sandy Police Sgt. Mike Eldredge, the robber walked into the store at 9497 S. Seventh East, "pulled out a gun and robbed the only attendant in the store." He escaped on foot with an undetermined amount of cash from the 3:40 p.m. robbery.
Eldredge said the robber has hit in Sandy five times now. His grand total of robberies is 14, including the three Friday.
"He just likes working overtime," Eldredge said of the man who has been hitting stores in strip malls since early November.
The man is described as heavy-set, 5 feet 10 inches, about 200 pounds with graying hair, blue eyes and a pot belly. His moniker comes from the dark blue hat he wears, which has "Top Gun" embroidered on it in gold lettering.
"The physical description is the same as we've had on the other ones," Hayward said.
On Wednesday, the pot-bellied bandit held up B.I. Spectrum Ladies Factory Outlet, 5688 S. Redwood Rd., about 2:45 p.m, Hayward said.
Yogurt stores, fast-food Mexican and fried chicken restaurants, gas stations and ice cream parlors are among the outlets that have been paid a visit by the robber. Most of the robberies have occurred in small stores in strip malls between 3 and 5 p.m.
"This guy started this around Nov. 4, and hit about every other day or so since then," Hayward said. "And I don't think he's gotten $1,200 in the robberies he's committed. So if he's trying to get Christmas money, he's better off getting a job."
The sheriff said investigators with law enforcement agencies in the county are concerned because the robber carries a revolver "and the fact that he cocks it. If anybody should happen to resist, we're concerned he might shoot."
The robber is described as courteous, ordering the victims - mostly young women - into the back room and telling them to count to 100 before coming out.
"He's persistent, he's very calm and very deliberate. He's very clean-shaved and well-groomed," said Hayward. "He's not loud and he's not vulgar with them. He makes his statement, `This is a stickup. I have a gun. Give me all your money.' "