SPOKANE, Wash. - Prior to Tuesday's robbery at a North Spokane Baskin and Robbins franchise, Spokane police were intensifying their efforts to catch a serial armed robber.
The number of victim businesses are adding up and after taking a five day hiatus, the robbery suspect was back at work late Monday afternoon, hitting Deb's Espresso at 921 E. Houston and then walking away with cash. On Tuesday came another hit at Baskin and Robbins, located at 1925 North Monroe.
Previous businesses hit in the city limits include three Subway restaurants, the Yoke's grocery store off Indian Trail, Mug Shots Espresso and Jitterz Java was also hit three times.
"I think the public needs to know too that our response times have been incredibly quick," Spokane Police Chief Frank Straub said. "I think last night we were there within a minute of the incident taking place."
Police are missing their suspect by just seconds because they're positioning their patrol officers to hold up hot spots. Senior crime and intelligence analyst Thomas Michaud is using the thief's modus operandi to project where he might strike next.
"We then start putting out surveillance teams and technical surveillance equipment and that type of thing with the hope of being in the right place at the right time," Straub said.
Police are also sharing their surveillance video with probation officers to see the suspect was recently released from prison.
The robbery suspect is carefully choosing his targets, avoiding the ones where employees are wearing handguns and so undercover officers are trying to spot the thief doing his pre-hold up reconnaissance.
However, Chief Straub said the rest of the community may be the best hope of spotting the suspect, either making his way to or from his getaway car.
"You sit there and think that's kind of weird, somebody walks up to a coffee stand, it's a drive up and they just walked away with no coffee, typically that doesn't happen, right? That's a call to 911, not Crime Check so we can get units there right away," Straub said.
So if you frequent or work near an espresso stand you've got the go-ahead from Chief Straub to make a heads-up play and dime this guy out to 911 if you spot him.
Straub said unless the suspect leaves town he's going to get caught because with every holdup he gives detectives a little bit more information about who he is.
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