Rash of Armed Robberies in Madera

September 24, 2008 8:21:19 PM PDT
Madera police are asking for the public's help in tracking down two sets of thieves wanted for a series of armed robberies at local stores.Investigators say the suspects have hit three restaurants and two gas stations in just the last four weeks.

This surveillance video catches two armed robbers in the act as they force employees at Madera's Kentucky Fried Chicken to open the store's safe. They empty out the cash and then dash for the door.

Det. Hector Garibay said, "In this case here the alarm went off, so they just took off running."

Detectives believe these two men are responsible for at least two other robberies at Little Caesar's Pizza and Carl's Junior. And police say they're not the only ones terrorizing employees who work the late shift at local stores. Officers are also searching for two men wanted for robbing at least two gas stations. This surveillance video shows the pair rushing a clerk with a rifle at a Valero. And this picture captures one of the men wearing an ape mask and carrying a different rifle during a robbery at a Johnny Quick convenience store.

Det. Hector Garibay of the Madera Police Dept. said, "Basically we're asking for the public's assistance, to see if we can identify these people so we can put a stop to these robberies. We believe potentially they could escalate to someone getting hurt, shot."

Detective Hector Garibay says in each of the robberies, the suspects are only getting away with about one hundred dollars because that's all the stores keep in their registers. But long time Madera resident Jason Hernandez says some people are more desperate than ever before.

Jason Hernandez said, "I guess over time things are getting worse, and maybe it's part of the so-called depression, people low on funds, hard to get work, so maybe they're going to drastic measures I guess, we never really had this problem in this town before."

Detectives agree tough economic times may be the motive for the robberies. But they want the thieves to pay the price for their crimes. They've met with store owners to warn them about the late night attacks, and they're asking anyone with information to call the police department.

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