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Police seek suspect in strong armed robberies
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Two strong armed robberies were reported in Turlock over the last few days and police believe the same suspect carried off both heists.

Both robberies were at gas stations and both shared the same modus operandi.

No one has been hurt in the robberies, though when one clerk confronted the suspect he showed no signs of backing down, said Turlock Police Lt. Jeff Lopes.

The first robbery occurred just before 10 a.m. Tuesday at the Valero at 216 N. Golden State Blvd. While at the counter the suspect distracted the clerk away from the register by asking for cigarettes. When the clerk’s back was turned, he grabbed the cash register and ran out the door with it.

The suspect jumped into a white two-door hatchback car with a black stripe and a driver at
the wheel.

Three days later the almost identical robbery was being played out at a second gas station in Turlock. This robbery was reported at 1:48 p.m. Friday at the Chevron at 101 N. Tully Rd.

The suspect again asked for cigarettes and when the clerk’s back was turned, he grabbed the cash register. Before he could flee out the door the clerk grabbed a pipe to try and stop him, but the robber wasn’t intimidated and threatened the clerk with bodily harm, Lopes said.

Again the robber made his escape by jumping into a waiting small white car. The clerk said it was a woman behind the wheel.

“We’re pretty sure that this is the same person given the similarities,” Lopes said.

The police also believe the same suspect was responsible for a similar robbery in Merced.

Both clerks described the suspect as having a dark complexion, possibly a Hispanic man in his 30s. He is thought to be between 5 feet, 4 inches and 5 feet, 8 inches tall and around 160 to 180 pounds.

Lopes advised gas station and convenience store clerks to be observant if they feel a person or situation is suspicious, but not to put up a fight.

“A cash drawer is not worth getting hurt over,” Lopes said.

Anyone with information about the robberies or the suspect is asked to call the Turlock Police Department at 668-5550 or Crime Stoppers at 521-4636. Callers to Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward.

To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.