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Business owner fights back; latest in spree of armed robberies

6:33 AM, Feb 27, 2012   |    comments
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When two armed robbery suspects ambushed and pepper sprayed a Lakewood business owner Saturday night, he pulled out a gun and opened fire - sending one of them to the hospital.

It is the latest in a string of armed robberies targeting small businesses across the metro area.

Police in Aurora and Lakewood are investigating three new robberies that happened over the weekend. This is in addition to 10 robberies in less than a month, all linked to same man, in Denver, Parker, and Aurora.

Lakewood police Public Information Officer Andrea Joo say two men tried robbing the Cambio de Cheque Check Cashing and Money Service at Colfax Avenue and Wadsworth Boulevard around 6:40 p.m. Saturday.

The store owner told police that two men approached him as he was closing for the evening. They sprayed him with pepper spray and tried to take the money he was carrying.

The store owner fired a handgun at the suspects and wounded one of his attackers. The second suspect got away and Lakewood police are searching for him.

Police say the store owner was defending himself and is not facing any charges.

"It's best if citizens do not take the law into their own hands, but as in this case, everything transpired so quickly, the business owner was trying to defend himself," Joo said.

Joo says Lakewood police are investigating if this robbery is connected to others in the metro area - although she declined to specify which ones as it remains an open investigation.

A robbery spree has hit more than a dozen small businesses in several cities this month.

On Friday in Aurora an armed robber hit two businesses along South Buckley Road. One of them was a Radio Shack and the other was a Cold Stone Creamery.

Surveillance video from the creamery shows as a guy walking into the store and pointing his gun right at the clerks, before ordering them to empty the register.
He was in and out in less than 60 seconds.

Robert Fugate owns a Subway in Aurora that was hit last week.
Police believe the same man is responsible for 10 robberies in 3 weeks - seven of them Subway restaurants.

"We don't need people walking around here with guns trying to kill people for a few lousy dollars. No one was hurt. But when you've got a gun to your head and you're pushed to the ground, it's going to be a different kind of hurt," Fugate said.

As police investigate all of these robberies, they're also warning small business owners and employees to be vigilant.

"Business owners just need to be very cognizant and maybe have a specific protocol for when they're locking up. Checking outside and making sure that there is nothing unusual," Joo said.

Aurora Police say it doesn't matter what shop owners do to protect themselves and their store, they believe the Subway robber will strike again.

The robber is described around 5 feet 10 inches tall. He wears a face mask and he's believed to be 19 or 20 years old.

Police say he wears a black and grey hoodie with the number 32 on the back and also wears black and yellow Air Jordans.

If you think you recognize him, you're asked to call metro area Crime Stoppers at 720-913-STOP (7867). You can remain anonymous and could be eligible for a $2,000 reward if you provide information that leads to an arrest.

(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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