Summerville police say recent armed robberies may be related

In this still photo from a surveillance camera at the Hess gas station on Trolley Road in Summerville, a robber forces a clerk to the floor as he scoops the cash from the register during a Dec. 7 robbery.

At least three armed robberies in the past two weeks in the Oakbrook area may be related, Summerville police said today.

“The suspect descriptions are very close and they are all in the same area,” said police Capt. Jon Rogers, public information officer.

In the first case, shortly before 10 p.m. on Nov. 29, police were dispatched to Papa John’s Pizza at 1525 Trolley Road, where the clerk told police he had walked outside to smoke a cigarette and was confronted by a man who pointed a handgun at him and ordered him back into the store, according to a police incident report. Once the two were inside, the gunman ordered the clerk to turn over all the money.

The gunman took the cash from two registers and fled through the back door of the business. The clerk described the robber as a black man, about 6 feet tall, 180 pounds with black hair and brown eyes.

On Dec. 7, about 9:30 p.m. a Hess gas station at 1401 Trolley Road was robbed when a clerk locked the store so she could use a restroom, which was located outside the store. A man said he needed something from inside the store so the clerk re-opened the store and the man followed her inside, grabbing the back of her head and pushing her down, according to an incident report.

The clerk said the robber told her he had a gun, but she never saw one. He told her to open the cash drawer. He took the money, grabbed a pack of cigarettes and ran away, toward a nearby apartment complex.

The victim said the robber was a 25- to 35-year-old black man, 5 feet 11 inches tall, 170 pounds. He was wearing dark slacks and an insulated parka with a gray fur-like lining. He also was wearing blue latex gloves.

Rogers released still photos taken by a security camera during the Hess robbery, but the robber’s face is not visible in those photos.

The latest robbery took place on Saturday, just before 6 p.m. at the Phone General store at 10150 Dorchester Road.

A man walked into the store and asked to see a SciPhone, an iPhone clone, according to an incident report. The man held the SciPhone in his hands and turned it on and off.

He handed the phone back to the clerk and as the clerk bent down to return it to the display case, the robber came around the display case and placed a hard object against the clerk’s head. The robber pushed the clerk toward the back of the sales room and scooped the cash out of the cash drawer and fled on foot.

Police responded with a tracking dog, which tracked the robber’s path to the back of the shopping center, where police think he may have gotten into a car.

The robber in this case was described as a 20- to 25-year-old black man, 6 feet 1 inch tall, 160 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes.

The clerk told police the robber was not wearing gloves when he examined the SciPhone. Investigators are hoping there are fingerprints on that phone that will help identify a suspect, Rogers said.