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Armed robbers hit carryouts

Courtney Astolfi • Aug 27, 2014 at 2:38 PM

Two Sandusky businesses were robbed at gunpoint within a two-hour span late Sunday night, but investigators have yet to nail down any possible suspects.

Employees at Pizza House West on Tiffin Avenue and Variety Village Drive Thru on East Market Street reported similar descriptions of the suspects who robbed their stores, but police have yet to confirm if the two incidents were related, Sandusky police Detective Dana Newell said.

At about 9 p.m. Sunday, a man walked into Pizza House West and demanded the two employees hand over all the cash, Newell said.

The man told employees he had a gun, although a startled clerk didn’t take him seriously at first.

The robber then made his intentions crystal clear, Newell said.

“You think I’m kidding?” the man asked as he pulled out a small revolver and flashed it at employees. The workers emptied their till and handed the money over, with the man folding up the bills and leaving through the front door, Newell said.

The robber then fled on foot, heading southeast down Tiffin Avenue.    Newell said officers and employees are still trying to determine exactly how much money was stolen, but a police report indicates it was about $200.

Officers received calls for the second armed robbery about 90 minutes later, according to a police report.

A lone employee at Variety Village Drive-Thru was behind the counter when at about 10:30 p.m., a man walked in and said “give me the money,” Newell said.

“The (Variety Village) clerk also thought it was a joke, until she saw the gun in his hand,” Newell said.

The robber then walked behind the counter and demanded the clerk open the register. After clearing out the contents of her cash drawer, the man demanded she open the safe. When the employee told him the store doesn’t have a safe, the man left with his haul, headed west on foot toward downtown, Newell said.

At some point during the robbery, the man dropped a pack of Black and Mild cigars, which police later tested for fingerprints, the report said. Officers are still trying to determine how much money was stolen.

Sandusky officers canvassed surrounding areas after each incident, but came up empty-handed both times, the reports said.

Investigators hope to speak to all three witnesses sometime today to gather more details, Newell said.

“We want a better description of the suspect and weapon involved in both cases,” Newell said.

Detectives are also pulling surveillance footage from nearby businesses to see if security cameras captured images of the suspects, Newell said.

“There are some similarities between them,” he said.

Employees from both businesses pegged the suspect at 20 to 30 years old. In both cases, the suspect wore gloves and a face mask, and he also carried a similar weapon, Newell said.

Pizza House West employees said the man who robbed their store was white, wearing a short black peacoat, black jeans, black hoodie, black gloves and black scarf or balaclava facecovering, Newell said.

The Variety Village clerk said the person who robbed her store was a light-skinned black man with a thin build, wearing a tan zip-up hoodie, black winter face mask and sweatpants, Newell said.

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