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Denton police grasp for leads as armed robberies continue

A man may have robbed the same 7-Eleven convenience store twice in less than a month.

As Denton police continue to investigate a series of armed robberies dating back to Sept. 5, officers responded to another armed robbery early Monday morning at the 7-Eleven store in the 1200 block of South Loop 288. They responded to a similar robbery at the store Sept. 5.

Police now say they believe at least six aggravated robberies could be connected to the same suspect. He has been described as a 5-foot-8 black man wearing a cloth over his face and brandishing a handgun. Police say he has a relatively thin frame.

In Monday's robbery, the man's method of operation and physical description matched the other incidents, according to department spokesman Shane Kizer. The suspect wore a blue cloth around his face, displayed a handgun and got away with about $250, he said.

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Investigators haven't been able to confirm his identity based on video surveillance footage because the suspect has been completely covered in all the robberies, Kizer said. He said police haven't seen a getaway vehicle on camera. They also haven't been able to lift fingerprints because the suspect is wearing gloves, he said.

"It sounds like this guy has done a very good job not leaving any leads for us to follow," Kizer said.

Denton police have responded to a total of eight robberies since Sept. 5.

The first robbery occurred at 1:16 a.m. Sept. 5 at the 7-Eleven convenience store in the 1200 block of South Loop 288 where the most recent robbery took place. The suspect, wearing a white cloth over his face, wielded a handgun and ordered the clerk to empty the cash register. He got away with about $300, police said.

Later that night, police responded to an aggravated robbery at the Corner Stop convenience store, about six miles away in the 3200 block of North Elm Street. Police said a masked man came into the store with a handgun and got away with about $200.

Hours later, during the early morning of Sept. 6, a man robbed the Super 8 hotel in the 600 block of South Interstate 35E. He was wearing a piece of clothing over his face while holding the clerk at gunpoint. He left with about $225, police said.

On Sept. 10, a man wearing a black cloth over his face walked into the Quality Inn and Suites in the 1500 block of Dallas Drive at about 11:50 p.m. He held the clerk at gunpoint and got away with $248, according to police.  The entire encounter lasted about 45 seconds, a manager said at the time.

On the morning of Sept. 15, police arrested 18-year-old robbery suspect Logan Hall after he led officers on a car chase from Denton to Corinth, authorities said. Officers were initially called to the robbery at about 6:30 a.m. at the Chevron in the 2400 block of South Interstate 35E. 

Police said Hall, who was covering his face with an orange shirt, walked into the store, pulled out a handgun and demanded money from the clerk. He also asked for the clerk's cellphone and stole a customer's wallet on his way out of the store, according to a Denton police arrest affidavit. 

After Hall left, a nearby Denton police officer tried to pull the man over, but he fled in the direction of Corinth.  Corinth police officers eventually caught up to him after he crashed into a tree. 

Denton police do not believe Hall is the suspect connected to the other robberies because he didn't match the physical descriptions, Kizer said. 

Later that night, the Dollar General store in the 3000 block of North Elm Street was robbed as two employees tried to close for the day. The masked suspect waited around the corner of the building at about 10:30 p.m. as the two male employees walked outside. 

Displaying a black pistol, the man ordered the clerks back inside, police said. He then directed them to shut off the alarm and open the safe, before getting away with more than $4,000, police said.  

Officers responded to the seventh robbery at about 3:40 a.m. Sunday morning. Police said a man walked into the 7-Eleven in the 100 block of South Loop 288 and stole an unknown amount of cash from an open register drawer.

Witnesses said the man wore a white hoodie with a blue bandanna over his face. They said he was about 5 feet, 3 inches tall. 

Police said the man walked into the store, jumped over the counter and took money from an open drawer while two employees were counting cash. The employees said the suspect didn't threaten them or display a weapon.

They also said he caused a cash register drawer to fall on the ground before fleeing the scene, according to police. 

While Kizer said this robbery doesn't match the method of operation in the other cases, police can't rule out the possibility that it's connected, he said. 

In the most recent robbery, the man fled on foot toward the LA Fitness on South Loop 288 with the money. So far, no one has been injured. 

"What's more concerning is whether he's going to get violent in the future," Kizer said.

JULIAN GILL can be reached at 940-566-6882.