AKRON, Ohio - Within one hour of the armed robbery of a Family Dollar store in Akron on Tuesday, investigators believe the same pair of thieves are responsible for another chilling holdup of a store 11 miles away in Barberton.
Surveillance video from the two crimes shows two men, one dressed in a heavy white coat and the other in all dark clothing, waving a gun. The pair emptied cash registers and safes.
The Akron robbery happened at 1:30 p.m. It is the latest in a string of daytime armed robberies in the city that have taken place during the daytime when stores are open for business, often with customers in the store.
"Since the beginning of July, we have had almost 25 robberies. On some days, we have had three or four robberies of businesses and then maybe skip a day. And then the next day, two robberies, skip a day, another robbery. And it does seem in the last week or so that its a daily occurrence," said Lt. Rick Edwards.
Video shows a terrified store employee standing with his arms folded as the gunman empties a register next to him.
An hour later, at 2:20 p.m. the pair bursts into a Dollar General store in Barberton. That's where they forced employees and two customers behind the counter as they empty cash registers and a safe.
"Anything could happen. These victims were very scared obviously, did not put up any kind of a struggle or resistance in any way, exactly like they are supposed to. But anything bad could have happened during this situation when somebody decides to rob a store with a gun," said Barberton Police Lt. Brian Jamison.
Police said it is possible the same individuals are not responsible for all 25 of the armed robberies in the Akron area over the past month. But despite their efforts to date, the people who are committing these crimes only seem to be getting bolder.
"We have put out videos after videos of these robberies, not only the ones that show the robbery occurring, but also ones that have audio where somebody can recognize my voice. We have made arrests in two of the robberies. One individual is in custody, but it hasn't slowed the robberies down," Edwards said.
"It sounds like they, there are going to be more of these until they are caught," Jamison said.
Investigators fear as the crimes continue they may escalate, so will the chance of someone getting hurt.
"It's kind of disheartening to know that nobody has called saying, 'I recognize who that is, I know who that is.' We know that people know who is doing this, but they are not saying something. So we are asking, basically we are pleading with the public, to watch the videos. See what's going on. If you know something, call the police department," Edwards said.