Salt Lake County Sheriff Pete Hayward says it's been a bit quiet lately - now that he's run the Top Gun bandit out of town.

The paunchy bandit hit 14 convenience, ice cream and other small stores in strip malls between Nov. 4 and 26. His total take in the robberies was less than $2,000.The armed robber, who sports a beer belly and a dark-colored hat embroidered with the words "TOP GUN," has been dormant the past few weeks. And Hayward credited combined law enforcement efforts for scaring off the man.

"We were getting close," Hayward said.

With eyewitnesses, good descriptions and officers pinning down his pattern - he hit small, low-traffic stores between 3 and 4:45 p.m. in the suburbs - the police had him running, the sheriff said.

"That guy would embarrass a coyote in a chicken house - going after girls and robbing them of $3."

The robber, described as 6-feet tall, 200 pounds with gray hair, took home anywhere from $50 to $300 in the holdups. Many of the clerks in the yogurt shops, fast-food businesses and convenience stores were young women.

Hayward said the tips pouring in from the public also helped scare off the robber, who concerned officials because he cocked his handgun during the robberies.

Police agencies around the county suggested residents leave their Top Gun hats at home, since would-be detectives were calling in with tips on the robber.

"I can't even find anybody wearing a Top Gun hat," Hayward said.