Charlotte-Mecklenburg police have decided one man is responsible for a string of armed robberies at upscale shopping centers around Charlotte in the past month, and they’re looking for help in finding him.
The suspect is a bald, muscular white man in his 30s, about 5 feet 10 inches tall, police said. He’s worn different clothes each time, sometimes adding sunglasses even when he’s indoors. In photos released by the police department, he appears to have a mustache and goatee.
Police said he’s held employees at gunpoint and robbed a Starbucks on Providence Road in Myers Park, Carriage Cleaners on Colony Road, Papa Murphy’s in Ballantyne and China Fun on Albemarle Road. He struck twice at one north Charlotte shopping center, near the intersection of Mallard Creek Road and Prosperity Church Road – once to successfully rob a Smoothie King and again, three days later, to attempt to rob a Dairy Queen.
Most were between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., although China Fun was robbed just before noon and the dry cleaning business was robbed at about 4 p.m. Monday, police said.
As always, call 911 if you see something suspicious, CMPD Sgt. Brian Scharf said.
“One of the things we hear a lot after it occurs, the robbery, is that ‘Well I thought something was suspicious, I saw somebody walking around outside at 6:30 at night, he had on sunglasses.’ And those are the types of things, if you see something suspicious, we need you to call the police immediately,” Scharf said.
CMPD spokesman Rob Tufano said the suspect has been seen pacing back and forth outside businesses before he robs them, so he urged everyone to watch out for that.
Scharf said the suspect tends to demand cash quietly instead of creating a scene. In the Starbucks case, some customers didn’t even know the robbery was happening, he said.
“He’s very nonchalant, he’s very non-aggressive, but again, this is a violent crime, this is an armed robbery. A lot of things can happen,” Scharf said.
In cases like these, police recommend that people observe as much as they can and contact the police quickly. The best way to stay safe is to cooperate, police said.
Anyone with information about these robberies or the suspect should call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.