MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) -- Riley County investigators are working to solve an armed robbery at a Manhattan fast food restaurant, the second such crime in recent weeks. The businesses that have been targeted are located very close to one another.
Officials say the crimes are similar and detectives are checking into the possibility that they're connected.
On Sunday, April 22, 2012 at 11:43 PM, the Riley County Police Department responded to the Wendy's at 3006 Anderson Avenue for a report of an armed robbery.
RCPD spokesman Lieutenant Josh Kyle told WIBW on Monday: "On scene investigation revealed that a black male dressed in dark clothing, including a mask, robbed restaurant employees with a handgun and then fled on foot. An estimated $2,000 in currency was taken from the business."
Kyle says there's no indication that there were any customers in the restaurant at the time of the hold up. Kyle told reporters that three male Wendy's employees are listed as victims of the robbery. They range in age from 19-29.
Meanwhile, Riley County police continue searching for the gunman who robbed the McDonald's a quarter of a mile away from the Wendy's, holding workers at gunpoint as he forced the supervisor into the restaurant's office.
Nearly three weeks ago on Wednesday, April 4, 2012, at 11:45 PM, police say a man holding a pistol robbed the McDonald's on Westloop Place off of Anderson Avenue.
The night manager and his employees were closing the McDonald’s when a black male wearing black pants, black hoodie and black shoes entered the store with a black handgun. The suspect was wearing a black ski mask beneath the hoodie.
According to officials, the armed, masked man demanded money and ordered the manager into the office. Once he had rolled coins and money, he left the restaurant and was seen by a passerby walking along the sidewalk in front of the new Dillons grocery store in the Westloop Shopping Center. He then ran across Claflin Avenue to nearby apartments.
The suspect is described as 6', dark skinned with a thin build.
The Riley County Police Department released an alert bulletin with a sketch of the armed robber, developed with the help of witnesses.
Surveillance footage is not being released from the hold ups. No one was injured during the robberies and no gun shots were fired.
"They're similar in nature and that's why they're investigating them both with the possibility they're connected but we don't know yet. In the first case, a black male wearing a mask and dressed in dark clothing was reported. The description is available on our website, to include a sketch that was done of him. And in the second case, what we have so far is that a black male wearing a mask and dark clothing was involved in this incident but as far as exact physical descriptors, we don't have that information yet so we're still checking into the possibility that these two crimes are connected," Lieutenant Kyle said, calling the investigations "very active."
Meanwhile, those who work at businesses near the two fast food restaurants are taking extra safety precautions, especially at night.
Brian Coonrod, manager of Burnett Automotive which is located across the street from the McDonald's and a few doors down from the Wendy's, told 13 News: "I'm very surprised. Being on the west side of Manhattan and a good community, we don't normally have this kind of problem in Manhattan. My workers will definitely be double checking doors, walking the parking lot to make sure everything is safe with the vehicles for our customers and just keeping our eyes open for anything that looks unusual. Hopefully it'll be a very quick conclusion for the police because we don't want this kind of stuff to keep going on in our community."
Anonymous tips can be left with the Manhattan/Riley County Crime Stoppers at 785-537-7777 or toll free at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). Or you can visit the Crime Stoppers website for other options: www.manhattanrileycountycrimestoppers.com.