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Police believe same man responsible for robberies

By Gary Libreatore

(WKTV) - Utica Police believe the suspect shown in surveillance video from two robberies in the city over the weekend is the same person.

In each, a heavyset black male in a reddish-colored sweatshirt is seen ordering a store clerk to empty a cash register, while aiming a black handgun.

The first robbery happened at the Fastrac on Oriskany Street West around 12:30 a.m. Saturday morning.

The second took place at the Hess Express on North Genesee Street around 10 p.m. Sunday night.

Utica Police Spokesman Sgt. Steve Hauck says during the Fastrac robbery, the suspect had some sort of red mask over the lower portion of his face, and during the Hess robbery, he pulled his white T-shirt up over the bottom portion of his face to try and hide his identity.

Hauck says the important thing in both cases is that neither clerk was hurt.

"In both of these instances, the clerks did exactly what you're supposed to do, which is not be confrontational, not get into an altercation with these people physically," Hauck said.

As far as the danger to convenience store clerks, Hauck says that danger is real each and every night.

"You know, obviously a lot of them are open 24/7, or if not 24/7, very late, and a lot of times they're alone and it can be a dangerous job.  I think there's no doubt about that."

By showing the video on News Channel 2 and here on wktv.com, Hauck is hoping for some leads, even though the suspect's face is partially covered during each robbery.  

"Somebody may not necessarily see the face, but they might look at someone's demeanor, the way they walk, the way the build is, the clothing and somebody's got to know something about who this person is," Hauck said.  "Somebody has to know, especially if he's wearing this same sweatshirt, two times in a row, it's probably something he wears everyday, or at least a lot, so somebody's got to know, somebody's got to see it."

If you have any information on either robbery, you are asked to call Utica Police at (315) 223-3510.

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