Suspects in string of daily Mesa, Gilbert robberies on the loose

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The suspect was caught by a surveillance camera as he walked into a Mesa Walgreens store Thursday morning. By Catherine Holland The suspect was caught by a surveillance camera as he walked into a Mesa Walgreens store Thursday morning. By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

MESA, Ariz. -- The Mesa Police Department is searching for the men they say are behind nine robberies in Mesa and Gilbert in the past week.

According to investigators, a suspect walks into a business and asks an employee if he or she can make change. When told he must buy something for the employee to be able to open the register, he decides to make a purchase.

Once the purchase is in progress, the suspect hands the employee a note demanding money from the register.

There's been no violence in any of the incidents. At no time has the suspect displayed a weapon or even implied that he had one. In fact, the notes given to the employees said the suspect did not want to hurt anybody, said Detective Mike Melendez of the Mesa Police Department.

In each case, the suspect seemed to be in a rush, and with one exception he always left the scene on foot.

After one robbery, however, the suspect was seen getting into a dark green, full-size pickup truck. Because of that, detectives believe there are two people involved in this string of robberies, the most recent of which happened at a Mesa Walgreens just this morning.

The string of robberies started with a pair of incidents on Dec. 30. Since then, the suspects have hit at least one business every day with the exception of New Year's Eve.

Seven of the incidents were in Mesa. The other two happened in Gilbert. Most of the robberies took place in the evening hours although a couple did happen in the afternoon.

Dec. 30 -- Jamba Juice, 1653 S. Dobson Road, Mesa
Dec. 30 -- Waffle House, 1831 S. Country Club Drive, Mesa
Jan. 1 -- Starbucks, 1457 W. Southern Ave., Mesa
Jan. 2 -- Pizza Patron, 345 N. Country Club Drive, Mesa
Jan. 3 -- Jamba Juice, 1555 N. Gilbert Road, Gilbert
Jan. 4 -- Mezona Motor Hotel, 250 W. Main St., Mesa
Jan. 5 -- Golden Spoon, 754 S. Val Vista Drive, Gilbert
Jan. 5 -- Dunkin Donuts, 1198 E. Baseline Road, Mesa
Jan. 6 -- Walgreens, 755 E. Main Street, Mesa

One suspect is described as a white male between 20 and 25 years old. He's between 6 feet and 6 feet 2 inches tall, weighing between 170 and 180 pounds. He has brown or blond hair and a mustache. A witness in one of the cases said the suspect had acne on his face.

In surveillance photos released by the Mesa Police Department, the suspect was wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans.

In three of the cases, the suspect was described as a Hispanic male in his early 20s, 5 feet 8 inches tall, weighing 140 pounds.

Police said the two descriptions indicate that the suspects alternate who goes inside the targeted business.

No injuries have been reported in any of the robberies.

Anyone with information is urged to contact the Mesa Police Department at 480-644-2211 or Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS.