The thing that is meant to conceal his identity is what also distinguishes him for police.

The bandana that covers most of his face when he holds up convenience stores and gas stations makes it difficult for witnesses to give police a complete description of the robber.But that piece of cloth has also earned him a nickname - the bandana bandit - and helped detectives with three different police agencies link him to nearly a dozen robberies in the past two months.

Last Sunday police believe the same bandit robbed three gas station convenience stores in less than hour and a half. The first robbery occurred at a Texaco station, 1689 S. 1300 East about 7:15 p.m. The second happened about 20 minutes later at a Phillips 66, 179 W. 500 South, and a third robbery at Quality Quick Stop, 916 N. 900 West.

In all the robberies, a dark complected man entered the stores, demands money and points a silver handgun at the clerks. He makes the clerks lay on the floor as he takes money from the tills and count to 100 when he leaves.

Several witnesses have also said they believe the robber is missing some teeth, according to reports. None of the witnesses have seen the gunman get into a car, even though in one case, a witness tried to follow the man as he fled a store he'd robbed.

In all of the cases, he's described as being between 5'7" and 5'10" and weighing 145 to 160 pounds. He also usually wears a knit stocking cap. The bandanas are not always the same color. In Salt Lake City, he's worn both blue and red bandanas.

In addition to these three robberies, investigators believe he's responsible for at least four others in the city, said Salt Lake Police Sgt. George Scarlett.

Those robberies are: Feb. 16 at the Shopper's Express, 800 W. 2100 South; Feb. 23 at the Top Stop, 2603 E. Parley's Way; March 1 at the Stop and Go, 1200 S. 1700 East; March 10 at the Penny Wise Market, 1200 S. 900 West.

Murray has had one robbery they believe is connected to the bandana bandit. Detective Alex Huggard said the man wore a blue and white bandana when he robbed a Sinclair Gas Station, 5400 S. 900 East.

Like the Salt Lake City cases, the man demanded the clerk open the register after showing her a silver handgun. The robber reached into the till himself and grabbed the cash.

"We're very confident that it is the same individual," Huggard said of their robbery suspect. In this case, police have surveillance video of the man.

Salt Lake County Sheriff's Robbery Sgt. Mike Parr said they believe the bandana wearing robber is responsible for three robberies in the county.

They are: Feb. 18 at Food 4 less, 5600 S. Van Winkle; Feb. 27 at Mazimart, 3701 S. Highland Drive; and March 10 at the Texaco, 791 E. 3300 South.

Parr said detectives from the three police agencies discovered the similar cases about two weeks ago, and since then, have been working together on solving the cases.

Scarlett said he usually strikes a store where a female clerk is working alone.

"His earliest hit was 4 p.m. and his latest was 8:45 p.m.," Scarlett said. "He's pretty mobile, although (no one) has seen him leaving in a car."

Scarlett said police hope to get help from the public in identifying the man. They do have a palm print from one of the robberies that could assist them in identifying the man after an arrest.

"What we hope for is a fingerprint, or if someone who knows him calls us," Scarlett said. "He's getting more aggressive."

And with a gun involved, police worry that his next crime will be a lot more serious than a robbery.

Anyone with any information can call Salt Lake Police at 7979-3000; Murray police at 265-4056 or 911; or Salt Lake County Sheriff's detective Jon Sharp at 535-5287.