Police investigate several armed robberies in same afternoon - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Police investigate several armed robberies within half-hour

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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

Columbia Police are investigating several crimes that occurred within a few miles of each other Thursday evening. 

Jennifer Timmons with the Columbia Police Department said at about 7:10 p.m. Thursday, the Hardee's on Rosewood at South Beltline was robbed by a man with an undetermined weapon.

About seven minutes later, the Dollar General on South Beltline was robbed by a man with a weapon.

Police say it's a pattern they see often.

"They're going to try to do as much to get as much," said Deputy Chief Ruben Santiago. "They'll hit one location then hop to another. So we flooded the area with as many officers as possible."

Santiago said officers investigating the first pair of robberies spotted two men sitting in an SUV at the Shell gas station on Garners Ferry Rd.  When officers approached the vehicle, the suspects ran off.

Officers determined that the SUV was stolen.

A K-9 unit tracked down one of the suspects in the bushes near the gas station and he was taken into custody. 

Timmons said someone from the Target on Garners Ferry called to report someone matching the description of one of the suspects from the Shell station was in the store.  The store was placed on lock down, but police determined the suspect had left the store.

After searching the plaza, the suspect was found sitting at a table at Panera.

"He was trying to blend in, waiting on a ride out of the area," said Santiago.

Santiago said the men had a stolen gun and police think the suspects were preparing to rob the gas station.

Right now, investigators do not believe the two under arrest are connected to the Hardee's and Dollar General robberies.

If you know anything about those robberies and can help police find the suspect, call Crimestoppers at 1-888-Crime-SC.

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