Mesa police are looking for two separate suspects who each robbed a cellphone store within 24 hours of each other. Detectives can't say whether the crimes are linked or a coincidence, but employees believe the two are too similar to not be connected.
The first robbery happened on Aug. 28 at a Verizon Wireless store near McKellips Road and Stapley Drive, officials said. A man, who was wearing a Cincinnati Reds baseball hat, ski mask, black under armor and carrying a bat, barged into the store and forced an employee into the bathroom in a back room. He is about 5 feet 11 inches tall, police said.
Store managers said the robber tried to crack the safe but when he couldn't he stole the entire cash register drawer.
The next morning, a Verizon Wireless store four miles away was robbed, police said.
The suspect in the second robbery is described as a Hispanic man, approximately 5 feet 8 inches tall, wearing a red Washington National's cap, white under armor and carrying a large knife.
In the second robbery, the culprit stole phones and cash from a safe that he made an employee open for him, police said. The robber also knew how to avoid a particular alert system.
"It's just so weird how they navigated so easily and they knew where they were going, even in the back rooms," said store manager Curtis Ross, who was there shortly after the first robbery to check up on his employees.
"He did the right thing. He did what the suspect asked and kept his life because of it," Ross said.
Ross also that his workers noticed a suspicious couple that came into the store twice not long before the robbery, and that the couple was asking about the most expensive phones before going back out to sit in their car. An employee reportedly left shortly after the couple did, and about ten minutes later the robber showed up.
"I think they were just scoping things out to see when the right time would be," Ross said.
Another employee told ABC15 that while the suspect descriptions differ between the two robberies, the suspicious man who came into the store with his girlfriend before the first robbery was a shorter Hispanic man, wearing a red hat and white under armor, eerily similar to the suspect in the second robbery.
Anyone with information that could help catch either suspect is asked to contact Mesa police.