Reporting Nina Moini
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Police are investigating after a suspected six-time robber got away again Wednesday morning in Maple Grove — and they’re asking for the public’s help to find him.
The man was caught on surveillance camera at a Burger King on Weaver Lake Road, near Interstate 94, early Wednesday morning. No one was hurt in the incident, but he was able to get away with an undisclosed amount of money.
The surveillance video of the man and his vehicle helped police tie him to a string of robberies, all that occurred in the last month or so — and all at fast food chains.
Police say the man usually hits small fast food chains or restaurants, is very calm and always carrying a gun.
“Displaying and having a handgun available the entire time is very concerning to us,” said Capt. Keith Terlinden of the Maple Grove Police.
Police say the man forced his way into the Burger King around 6 a.m. with a gun and forced the two employees inside into the freezer as he robbed the place.
He then fled the scene.
The armed crime spree began more than a month ago in Sauk Rapids and St. Cloud.
On Sept. 14, he struck again, robbing the Subway restaurant in Big Lake, where he forced employees into a back room. Five days later, two Burger Kings in Clearwater and Monticello were robbed in the same fashion.
Officers were also called to the Game Stop store in Monticello on Oct. 5 for an armed robbery late in the evening.
Police say they are concerned that if he continues these robberies while armed, things could escalate.
“The use of the firearm is subdued but always risks something’s going to happen, go wrong,” Big Lake Police Chief Joel Scharf said. “Something could spook him and someone will get seriously hurt or killed.”
Police are describing him as a white man, between the ages of 30 and 40, wearing a black ski mask with eye holes and a white marking on the mask. He was last seen in a dark grey sweatshirt, grey shoes and blue jeans.
The big break in the case is the vehicle he was seen with Wednesday morning — a 2005 dark-colored Dodge Durango. Police are working to enhance the imaging on the surveillance video in order to get a clear read on the license plates.
“It’s our belief this is the first time we’ve had a vehicle identified and we hope the public will help us identify it,” he said.
“We’re hoping as the pictures are released somebody can recognize him, because definitely somebody knows whose vehicle it is and those tips pay off,” Chief Scharf said.
Police say because the man is so calm and polite during the robberies, it tells police he’s done this several times before.
Authorities say they’re stepping up patrols in the area. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Wright County Sheriff at (763) 682-1162 or Maple Grove Police at (763) 494-6189.