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Armed robberies hit convenience stores in North Tonawanda, Amherst

Armed robberies at two 7-Eleven convenience stores in North Tonawanda and Amherst early Thursday morning appear to be related to a string of armed robberies that have been reported throughout Erie and Niagara counties since Dec. 24, police officials say.

A man who had his face covered and was wearing gloves displayed a handgun and demanded cash from a store clerk at the 7-Eleven at 1060 Niagara Falls Blvd. at the corner of Ruie Road in North Tonawanda at 2:45 a.m. Thursday. The man was described as white, of medium build and between 5 feet, 5 inches, and 5 feet, 10 inches tall, according to North Tonawanda Police Capt. Thomas Krantz, chief of detectives. Krantz said police believe that after the man fled on foot, he may have gotten into a waiting vehicle.

He said that about an hour later, a similar armed robbery with a similar suspect was reported at a 7-Eleven on North French Road in Amherst. Krantz said North Tonawanda and Amherst police are working together.

Investigators believe the robberies may be connected to a string of holdups reported throughout Erie and Niagara counties. Krantz said this is the first time a North Tonawanda business has been hit.

“We are working with the other agencies who have had similar robberies in the last month and a half,” Krantz said.

The Amherst Police Department reported Thursday that there was another holdup earlier this week in the town.

At about 7:50 p.m. Tuesday, the Gulf gas station at 4220 Sheridan Drive was held up by two men, one of them armed with a handgun, and made off with an undetermined amount of money, fleeing on foot.

The robbers were described as white males, one about 5 feet, 9 inches tall and weighing 180 pounds and the other about 6 feet tall and 180 pounds.

According to Steven Preisch, chief deputy in the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office, investigators will add North Tonawanda and Amherst to a growing list of agencies, including the state police, the Niagara County District Attorney’s Office, and police in Niagara Falls, Middleport, Lockport and Cheektowaga who have been meeting regularly since the robberies first occurred. “There have been at least a dozen reported since Christmas Eve and it spans over two counties and multiple jurisdictions,” Preisch said.

He said the robbers have not been getting much cash in the holdups. “We have extra cars out and are looking for information,” Preisch said.

Anyone with information can contact their local police department or the Niagara County sheriff’s 24-hour tip line at 438-3393.