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Suspect sought in string of armed robberies in Tulare County

South Valley investigators are working overtime to track down a serial armed robbery suspect.
Monday, July 07, 2014
South Valley investigators are working overtime to track down a serial armed robbery suspect. Detectives believe the man pictured in this surveillance photo is responsible for at least six armed robberies in the last two weeks.

In two surveillance photos released by the Visalia Police Department, officers say the suspect is holding a gun as he's trying to rob a man at the front desk of the Holiday Inn Hotel. Officers say the suspect, who they believe is in his late 20s or early 30s, has been on a crime spree -- robbing at gunpoint numerous businesses on the west side of Visalia.

"This could turn dangerous. Luckily, each of the employees at these locations has followed the suspect's instructions," said Sgt. Ozzie Dominguez with the Visalia Police Department.

The spree started back on June 25 when police say the suspect -- wearing the black baseball cap seen in the surveillance photo -- walked into the Pizza Hut off Akers and Mineral King, pointed a gun at an employee behind the register and demanded money. The next day, police say the same suspect robbed the Lamp Liter Inn just down the street. Just a few days later, the Rite Aid on Walnut and Akers was robbed.

And on July 2, the man tried to rob the Holiday Inn but found there was no money behind the front desk. So he struck another business the next morning. This time Donuts To Go was robbed at gunpoint.

"Everything else matches up to the suspects described in the other four armed robberies that have occurred in the city during the last week and a half," said Dominguez.

The donut shop was the last business robbed by the suspect in the city of Visalia, but now it appears his crimes are expanding to other areas of Tulare County. Sheriff's officials now confirm that a robbery at a gas station market off Highway 99 and Caldwell Avenue has the same suspect as the Visalia crimes, as well as a recent robbery at a nearby Tulare County motel.

"The Tulare County Sheriff's Department is currently investigating an armed robbery that took place over the holiday weekend on July 4th, and it may be connected to other armed robberies that have occurred in the area," said Megan Rapazo with the Tulare County Sheriff's Office.

There is other surveillance video from some of the other businesses, but investigators aren't releasing the images at this time. They're increasing patrols and surveillance, and are asking for the public's help to identify the man.

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