Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Southside Struck by Robberies

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Southside Struck by Robberies

Article excerpt

Byline: Dan Scanlan, Times-Union staff writer

Two Southside stores and another fast-food restaurant were robbed at gunpoint in three separate incidents last weekend, but one of the three gunmen didn't get away.

Meanwhile, police said a 39-year-old Maryland man was also arrested after breaking into the Firehouse Subs restaurant on Southside Boulevard.

The first incident occurred around 4:55 p.m. May 4 at the Genesis Coin Laundry at 3851 Emerson St., when police said a man walked up behind an employee standing in front of the store and stuck a handgun in his face. The gunman demanded $50, and the employee gave him what he had. The gunman rode away on a black bicycle.

Next, an undetermined amount of cash was stolen May 4 when a shotgun-wielding man dressed in black broke into the Burger King restaurant at 10142 Philips Highway. He also tried to steal a car at gunpoint to escape after the robbery.

Police said someone wearing black clothes, a ski mask and gloves broke a front window at the restaurant across from The Avenues mall at 5:50 a.m. Waving a pistol-grip shotgun, the man herded the manager toward the safe and forced him to open it before putting him and an employee in the cooler, police said.

Police said the gunman ran next door to the Olive Garden restaurant, where he found a 48-year-old employee sitting in a car waiting for that restaurant's manager to get there. The police report said the gunman ran up to the driver's-side window, pointed the gun at the man and ordered him out. When the man did so, the gunman told him to run south, taunting him with the comment, "Is that as fast as you can go?" as he followed him briefly.

The victim tried to get a woman driving by to call police, but she said she didn't have a cellular telephone. So police said he just walked around the Olive Garden and found his car untouched.

Jacksonville police have been trying to nab a fast-food bandit who has smashed through restaurant windows at more than 15 locations in the past few months. Sgt. Malcolm Farmer said the Burger King robbery could have been connected, although some aspects of the latest robbery were different from the previous hits credited to the bandit, and he said most robbers don't change the way they operate. …

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