Investigators say Willie Murphy even drove a stolen car to one of the businesses he robbed. Police are especially concerned because murphy is targeting women who are working alone. He is also a registered sex offender.
Officers say murphy is a gang member who police say was released from prison under a-b 109.
Police say Willie Murphy is out for more than just money. He takes everything he can grab before he leaves. Investigators say he acts like a shopper until it's time to pay that's when surveillance video shows he lifts his shirt just enough to reveal a gun. Naomi Biswas was mopping the floor in this tower district sandwich shop when police say this man walked in and ordered the most popular sandwich on the menu.
He grabbed chips and approached the register, before Naomi realized this was no average sale.
Naomi Biswas, Blimpie's manager said, "He lifted up his shirt and he showed me a gun and he said hand me all the money and i froze, i was scared to death."
Frightened and panicking she scrambled to open the register and give him the money. She says he shoved the bills in his pocket and he calmly walked out before he told her "don't call the cops".
"It was at 5:45 in the evening, you wouldn't think something like that would happen t that time of day, and you expect it to happen later in the day. And so since then I've been sorta scared and then we've made adjustments with keeping women staffed in the evening," she said.
Captain Randy Dobbins says this business wasn't the only one willie murphy has hit. He ordered a yogurt at this TCBY on Cedar and Herndon Avenues before showing a gun and demanding money. Investigators believe he's responsible for at least six robberies, including star mart on fruit and Clinton Avenue, and Papa Murphy's on Brawley and Clinton Avenues.
Randy dobbins of Fresno Police Department said, "As he is posing as a customer, he'd select specific food items which he would take with the money and also the clerks personal property with him, that made it a bit unique."
The most unlikely target may have been this children's book store in northwest Fresno. Petunia's Place had just opened their doors for the day when the clerk said the suspect, picked out some things for the clerk to gift wrap. When it came time to pay, he robbed the business.
Action news has learned murphy was released from prison under the state's realignment plan. Due to a loophole in ab-109, the sex offender was able get off parole and GPS supervision and onto post release community supervision simply by committing a new non serious, non-violent felony. The crime was attacking a correctional officer. In addition to murphy carrying a gun, officers say he is also a martial artist. If you see him, police say just call 9-1-1.
There is a reward being offered for his arrest.