Police Think 11 Robberies Linked Man in Black Hits Fast-Food Restaurants

Article excerpt

Byline: Dana Treen, Times-Union staff writer

Jacksonville police believe an increasingly violent string of armed robberies, including eight in the past two weeks, is linked to a man who smashed his way into two fast-food restaurants early yesterday and shot at one of the managers.

The robber shot two holes in the manager's office door shortly after midnight at an Atlantic Boulevard McDonald's and scattered three employees into hiding in the restaurant cooler. The robber fled after taking money and purses belonging to employees.

About 90 minutes later, four people who had been locked in an Arlington Taco Bell restaurant cooler told police an armed man broke in through a glass door and robbed them when the store safe couldn't be opened.

"There were a couple of shots fired," said robbery Lt. Dan Principe about the first robbery. "That kind of worries us because of the escalation in violence."

These are the latest in a string of 11 fast-food robberies since January that police suspect are related. In each of the cases, witnesses describe at least one man wearing black clothes, a ski mask or bandana, black gloves and carrying a chrome handgun.

"He's completely covered from head to toe," Principe said. …