MIDVALE — One person was arrested and police were looking for at least two others following a series of armed robberies throughout Salt Lake County Sunday night into Monday morning.
The string of robberies began just after 10:30 p.m. Sunday at a 7-Eleven, 2287 E. 3300 South. Three people, all believed to be juveniles wearing masks, approached a clerk who was standing outside the store, according to Unified Police Lt. Brian Lohrke. One teen held the clerk at gunpoint while the other two robbed the store of cigarettes. The trio fled in a maroon colored Nissan Altima. The clerk was not injured.
Approximately 10 minutes later, another 7-Eleven, 6852 S. State, was robbed. Two teens entered the store carrying black garbage bags and demanded money and cigarettes while threatening the clerk with a gun, Lohrke said.
About midnight, a third 7-Eleven, 2471 S. 7200 West, was robbed. About 15 minutes after that, a Maverik store, 1707 S. 300 West, was robbed. Both robberies were believed to be committed by the same group.
A 15-year-old boy was arrested by Salt Lake police following the fourth robbery when the clerk managed to knock the gun away from one of the boys, grabbed him, and held on to him until officers arrived. Salt Lake police say they would never encourage any person to put themselves at risk like that, but fortunately in this case it worked in the clerk's favor.
The search for two others continued Monday. Both are described as being approximately 16 or 17 years old. One boy is 5 feet 7 inches tall, weighs about 130 pounds and has short, dark hair and a dark complexion, Lohrke said. That boy was last seen wearing a gray T-shirt, gray gym shorts, black Nike shoes and a red bandana over his face.
The other boy is 5 feet 6 inches tall, 130 pounds, and also has a dark complexion, Lohrke said. He was last seen wearing a gray shirt, dark jeans, white shoes and a black bandana over his face.
Anyone with information about the robberies is asked to call police at 801-743-7000.
Lohrke did not know Monday why the group was also stealing cigarettes. He said some could be for personal use, and some might be to sell to other juveniles.
In 2004, police throughout the valley investigated more than two dozen robberies involving mainly cigarettes at local convenience stores. Detectives determined that some drug dealers were allowing customers to pay them in cigarettes instead of cash in exchange for drugs.
In a separate investigation, three Salt Lake businesses were robbed in 10 minutes just after 1 p.m. Monday. The first two were in a strip mall at 715 S. 900 West, said Salt Lake police detective Brandon Shearer. Shortly after that, the Blue Boutique, 1051 S. 300 West, was robbed by the same two men, he said.
No one was injured in either incident and police don't believe those robberies are connected to the others. Anyone with information on those robberies can call police at 801-799-3000.
Contributing: Caitlin Burchill