Serial robber targets Henrico convenience stores

By Matt Butner - bio | email

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - Henrico police are tracking a serial robber in the eastern part of the county. He's hit 4 convenience stores since early January, all along a stretch of Nine Mile Road.  The rash of robberies has store owners on edge in that area.

Police say in each case, the male suspect entered the store, his face and hands covered by pantyhose. They say he used this disguise and a black semi-automatic pistol to rob 4 convenience stores between January 8th and February 4th.

Arti Patel owns the J Express store on Nine Mile. She says she hasn't run into him yet- but she's no stranger to armed robbery. She says her store was targeted about a year ago.

"They put the gun on me here, and said 'open the register' and I was very scared," she said.

Her store is not far from the Market Place and the Kenway Express, two of the stores hit by the suspect in this most recent string of holdups. The other two are just a few miles east down Nine Mile- John's Market and the Handi-Stop on Hanover Road.

Henrico Police Lieutenant Eric Owens says the suspect's pattern suggests he'll strike again.

"I think until he's caught, he will continue to do it," said Owens. "The longer he goes along, the more brazen he becomes, the more confident he becomes."

Police say the suspect is between 35 and 45 years old. He stands six feet two inches, with a thin build. They're hoping someone will see through his attempts to conceal his identity, and turn him in.

In the meantime, store owners like Arti Patel are on the lookout. After her robbery scare a year ago, she had an automatic lock installed on the entrance. With the push of a button under the counter, she can shut out anyone who looks like they're up to no good.

"They come in all the time with a mask and gloves, so when I see them, I lock the door," she said, adding, "All the time when nobody's here, I lock the door."

Henrico police want anyone with information to call Crimestoppers at 780-100.

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