October 20, 2009 in City

Series of holdups may be linked

By The Spokesman-Review
 

How to help

Anyone with information on the robberies in Coeur d’Alene is asked to call police at (209) 769-2320.

Anyone with information on Spokane robberies should call Crime Check at (509) 459-2233.

A series of robberies in the Inland Northwest continued over the weekend with three holdups in three days in the Coeur d’Alene area.

A deli, a grocery store and a fast food restaurant were robbed by gunmen in Kootenai County, which followed stickups at an ice cream shop, restaurant and two coffee stands in Spokane last week.

Coeur d’Alene police believe the robbery Friday at Piggies Deli and Market, 2001 E. Sherman Ave., is connected to the holdup Sunday at Dairy Queen, 305 W. Appleway Ave., said Sgt. Christie Wood.

The Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the robbery Saturday between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. at the Super 1 Foods in Hayden. Spokane police don’t know if the four armed robberies in their city last week are connected but say robbers appear to be becoming more brazen.

“If you work in a pharmacy, you can be pretty much guaranteed someone is going to demand OxyContin from you,” said Officer Jennifer DeRuwe. “But it just seems like anyone can become a victim now.”

In the deli robbery, a man with a black cloth covering the bottom half of his face pointed a Glock or Sig Sauer handgun at an employee before taking money from the cash register and robbing two customers crouched on the floor, according to the Coeur d’Alene Police Department.

In the robbery Sunday at Dairy Queen, a man wearing a ski mask pointed a gun at three employees and stole cash, traumatizing the employees and triggering an unsuccessful search by a sheriff’s dog. The man’s description was similar to the one reported Friday.

During Saturday’s robbery at Super 1 Foods, a man held a clerk and customer at gunpoint and had the clerk empty a cash drawer before fleeing on foot. A sheriff’s dog picked up scent but lost it. Deputies said the robber probably hopped into a waiting vehicle at that point.

Spokane’s latest robberies started with a man fleeing with money after threatening to spray a black canister at an employee at Baskin-Robbins, 1230 S. Grand Blvd., on Oct. 9. Three days later, two north Spokane espresso stands were robbed at gunpoint within 20 minutes of each other around 5 a.m. Then on Oct. 14, a gunman robbed Lindaman’s restaurant at 1235 S. Grand Blvd. about 10 p.m. as an employee tried to walk home.

No injures were reported in any of the robberies.

Staff writer Mike Prager contributed to this report.

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