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Police and fire

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Swikar Patel/The Journal Gazette
Fort Wayne police responded Tuesday to an armed robbery at Dollar General, 6414 E. State Blvd.

3 city businesses robbed; police say crimes unrelated

Residents encouraged to report suspicious activity

Courtesy Fort Wayne Police Department
This man robbed the Chase Bank branch in Georgetown Square on Tuesday morning, Fort Wayne police said.

Three city businesses were hit by armed robbers in unrelated episodes Tuesday, sparking police to encourage residents to report suspicious activity they see as the holidays approach.

"It's the holiday season, and we always see a spike in these types of robberies at about this time," said Officer Raquel Foster, a spokeswoman for the Fort Wayne Police Department.

The spate of robberies included a bank and two convenience stores, and began in the morning.

At about 10:23 a.m. a black man walked into the CHASE Bank at 6704 E. State Blvd. and gave a note demanding money to a teller, police said. He did not show the teller a weapon, police said.

The suspect left on foot with an undisclosed amount of money and headed toward an apartment complex to the north. Police said the suspect was wearing a black baseball cap and a black hooded jacket.

A little more than an hour later – at about 11:47 a.m. – a black man and black woman walked into the Burger Dairy II at 1450 Saint Joseph Blvd., police said.

The woman had a handgun, according to police, and the man took money from the cash register. They both left on foot.

Police described the woman as short – between 5-feet and 5-feet, 2-inches tall – while the man was taller. The woman wore black pants, gray sweats and white shoes, and covered her face with a red bandanna.

The man wore white pants, white shoes and a green sweatshirt.

Just blocks away from the bank robbed earlier, a Hispanic man walked into the Dollar General at 6414 E. State Blvd. at about 2:22 p.m.

He approached the cashier with two cans of soda as if to make a purchase, but instead pulled out a handgun and demanded money.

The suspect, wearing an orange sweatshirt and blue jeans, left on foot toward the east with an undisclosed amount of money.

Tuesday's robberies came on the heels of others in the last few days, including one at a Fort Wayne Arby's on Saturday, a Subway on Monday morning and a Walgreen's in Huntington on Monday night.

Foster said citizens should call police if they see things that don't look right in front of businesses, and used the Burger Dairy robbery as an example.

A witness in an alley behind the convenience store saw the two suspects acting strangely beforehand, pacing back and forth outside the store and then afterward fleeing through that very same alley.

According to Foster, police believe the pair were waiting outside for the store to empty of customers and had possibly even cased the business beforehand.

They were able to mask their faces from the cameras, as though they knew where those cameras were, she said.

"A lot of people see suspicious activity, and we encourage for people to call us," Foster said.

jeffwiehe@jg.net

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