1 man linked to 5 armed robberies in Petaluma

PETALUMA, Calif. (KTVU) - Petaluma Police are calling it a top priority case after the city, which has a population of 60,000, has been hit with a wave of armed robberies.

"Five locations in one week," said Police Detective Sgt. Ed Crosby. "It's someone who knows this town well."

Crosby says the armed robber, who covers his face, first struck on March 25th robbing three different stores.

He started with a robbery at Quick Stop on East Washington Street at 5:30 a.m., 45 minutes later he robbed a Valero gas station just a mile away, and then struck again at the pharmacy inside Lucky grocery at the Gateway Shopping Center on Lakeville Street.

"The more these occur, the more comfortable he becomes, the more overconfident he might be," said Crosby.

Detectives say in four of the five cases the robber told the clerks he has a gun and demanded money. The victims told police the robber never pointed a gun at them.

In some cases police say he's wearing a black mask, other times he pulls a shirt up over his face. This week police say the same man robbed two different 7-Eleven's in the downtown area.

"He hasn't outright displayed what is clearly a weapon, but if he is referring to having a weapon we will take him for his word," said Crosby. "And if there is something that doesn't go the way he plans then this situation could escalate to where someone gets hurt either him or somebody else."

Police say they do not know if the robber is escaping on foot or in a vehicle.