Investigators in West Bountiful and Salt Lake City were working Monday to determine if there was any connection between two businesses robbed over the weekend with a shotgun and the murder of a store clerk last week.
Saturday night, two restaurants were robbed within an hour of each other. The first was Chuck-a-Rama, 744 E. 400 South in Salt Lake. About 8:15 p.m., two men wearing dark hoodies, dark pants and covering their faces walked into the store and demanded money, said Salt Lake police detective Jared Wihongi. One man was armed with a long gun, possibly a shotgun, and the other had a handgun.
The two took money from the registers and left. No one was injured, and no shots were fired, Wihongi said.
About 35 minutes later, two men dressed similarly to those in the prior incident walked into Winger's in West Bountiful, near 500 West and 500 South, and robbed that business. Only a shotgun was seen, said West Bountiful Police Chief Randy Lloyd.
As the two men were driving away, the cook looked out the window and saw a flash, like one from a firearm. Detectives believe a small-caliber shotgun was fired at the restaurant, and the pellets bounced off the exterior, Lloyd said.
Both incidents come on the heels of Wednesday night's fatal shooting at the Family Dollar store, 1145 S. Glendale Drive (1350 West). Two armed men walked into the store demanding money. One was armed with a long gun, possibly a shotgun.
Although the suspect descriptions are similar in each incident, investigators could not say Monday if the cases were related.
"Obviously there are quite a few similarities ... physical description, methods of operation. To say without a doubt these are related, I can't say that," Lloyd said.
One man in the homicide was described as 5-foot-2 to 5-foot-5, weighing about 170 pounds. The other was 6 feet tall and 200 pounds. Both were Polynesian, according to police.
At the Winger's robbery, one man was described as over 6 feet tall and about 250 pounds. The second was about 5-foot-6 and 175 pounds, Lloyd said. The race of the suspects could not be determined, but witnesses said they spoke with "some type of accent," he said.
Police say the two men should be considered extremely dangerous, and if any other business owners should come in contact with them, they should not try to fight the men.
"Do whatever they say," Lloyd said. "They've already shown a propensity for violence. Whatever they say, do. Do not confront them."
Anyone with information on either weekend robbery can call Salt Lake police at 799-3000 or West Bountiful police at 292-4487.
The weekend incidents were the latest in several robberies involving a long gun over the past several weeks.
On Feb. 14, Racheritos, 1860 S. Redwood Road, was robbed by two men. Witnesses said one carried a sawed-off, pump shotgun. The suspects were described as Polynesian. One was about 6-foot-2 and the other 5-foot-5, according to witnesses. Both had stocky builds and wore hoodies and ski masks.
On Feb. 9, three men wearing dark clothing fired a shot inside a Wendy's restaurant, 919 W. 2100 South, before robbing the cash registers. No one was injured.
On Feb. 1, Molca Salsa, 2901 E. 3300 South, was robbed. Again, a shot was fired into the ceiling in that incident, but no one was injured. The suspects in that incident wore bandanas over their faces. They were described by witnesses as being either Hispanic or Polynesian. They were between 5-foot-8 and 5-foot-10 with stocky builds.In January, four men entered Factory 4 U, 3568 S. Redwood Road, one carrying a handgun and another a shotgun. One shot was fired into the ceiling before the store was robbed. The suspects in that incident were described as possibly being Polynesian. They wore black sweatshirts and bandanas over their faces.