Police are investigating whether three armed robberies of area businesses in the past two days are related, including a brazen daylight heist Monday afternoon at a Dunkin' Donuts on Niagara Falls Boulevard.
A robbery also was reported Sunday night at a Wilson Farms at 2620 Niagara St., and a third robbery was reported just after 10 p.m. Monday at Gulf Express at 8628 Niagara Falls Blvd.
In each case, victims described the robber as a white male in his early to mid-20s, slim or skinny, wearing a hoodie. The robber also threatened each cashier, saying he had a gun in a sweatshirt pocket. In two of the cases, the cashiers told police, the gun was never visible, but the clerk at the Dunkin' Donuts said the man displayed the barrel of the gun in his sweatshirt pocket.
City Police Capt. William M. Thomson, chief of detectives, said Tuesday he is reluctant to state with certainty whether the robberies are related, noting there were some differences.
"The one at Dunkin' Donuts they described the guy as 6 foot tall and at the Gulf station they described him as 5 foot 7," Thomson said. "His clothes are different [in some reports]. In one, he was described as in his late teens to early 20s. The other he was described as 20 to 25."
"They are similar," Thomson said of the reports. "It may be the same guy, but we don't know for sure."
At Dunkin' Donuts, the robber showed the cashier the barrel of the gun and told her, "This is a [expletive] robbery. Give me the money." She said when she had trouble opening her cash drawer he said again, "If you don't want anyone to get hurt, give me the money." The man then fled with $138, according to a store manager.
At Gulf Express at 10:18 p.m. Monday, the cashier said the man told her, "I have a gun. I'll shoot you if you don't give me the money." She said she did not see a gun and she quickly gave him "a handful of 20s." He then fled on foot on Tuscarora Road.
At 9:20 p.m. Sunday, a Wilson Farms clerk said a man told her, "This is not a joke. Give me the money. I have a gun." She said the man had a hand in his pocket and was shaking it as if he had a gun. She told police that she put cash -- later determined to be $250 -- in a plastic Wilson Farms bag. She said the man made her check under the drawer to see if she had any large bills and told her he didn't want any of the change.
Police Superintendent John R. Chella said police plan to discuss the cases in depth at the ComStat meeting today, which brings together all department heads.