Armed robber strikes two Portage businesses

2013-03-22T09:15:00Z 2013-03-23T10:12:03Z Armed robber strikes two Portage businessesBob Kasarda, (219) 548-4345

PORTAGE | Police believe two early morning armed robberies Friday may have been carried out by the same man responsible for holding up the Speedway gas station on Central Avenue on Wednesday.

The first of Friday's robberies occurred at 4:48 a.m. at Zip Foods at 5757 U.S. 20, during which time the man apologized to the clerk and said he has children to feed, according to police.

A clerk told police a white man wearing a dark-colored hooded sweatshirt and a dark-colored bandanna over part of his face pointed a black semi-automatic handgun at her and demanded the money from the cash register. The man then demanded and was given two cartons of cigarettes — Marlboro red shorts and Newport green shorts.

The clerk said the man threatened to shoot her if she did not respond quickly enough.

She said the man appeared to be 35 years old and 5 feet 10 inches tall.

A video surveillance tape at the store showed the man wearing dark-colored coveralls, a stocking cap with sunglasses on top and other clothing similar to the person responsible for the robbery earlier in the week, police said.

The camera also caught images of a small white car with what appeared to be a spare tire on the back passenger side.

The second robbery Friday occurred at 5:29 a.m. at the Comfort Inn at 2300 Willowcreek Road, police said.

The clerk said a white male wearing a dark-colored hooded sweatshirt and scarf over his face pointed a black handgun at him and said, "Give me all your money right now."

The man appeared to be in his late 20s, between 5 feet 11 inches and 6 feet tall, and of a thin to medium build.

Police planned to review video images from the hotel.

The man who robbed Speedway at 5011 Central Ave. at 3 a.m. Wednesday fit the same description and made off with cash and cigarettes, police said.

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