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Maplewood police search for mystery fast food bandit

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MAPLEWOOD, MO (KTVI) - Police are seeking the public’s help in identifying a man who’s been robbing fast food restaurants around St. Louis.

On surveillance video at the Maplewood Pizza Hut, a casually dressed man is seen pacing inside the restaurant for a full thirty minutes.  Police say he tells an employee he’s waiting on his girlfriend to bring some cash for pizza, and nobody questions it.

Then just before midnight, he pulls a gun.  Maplewood Police Detective Mike Gilb explains, “He displayed the hand gun, she ran out the back door, that’s when he ran in, and grabbed the registers on his own.”

The surveillance shows him slamming the cash registers onto the ground, then walking outside, carrying both of them. And no one seemed to notice.

“No mask, no gloves, no nothing,” adds Gilb.

That was August 22nd. After hearing what happened at her Pizza Hut, shift leader Adriana Isaac is now terrified, and says it’s given her nightmares:  “That’s scary to live with that. And knowing that I normally work at Pizza Hut by myself, so it’s scary.”

That Pizza Hut isn’t alone. Surveillance shows the same man robbing the Taco Bell on Hampton, at gunpoint, exactly one week earlier.  In the Taco Bell surveillance, the man is seen wearing the same athletic jacket and shoes.

Gilb says a suspect matching the same description also robbed Pizza Huts in Des Peres and Fenton.  Four fast food robberies, all within one week.

Now, police are hoping the public can help identify this man, and hope DNA evidence will bring some answers. Gilb explains, “When we were watching the video, we were able to see everywhere he touched, or leaned up against, transferring his DNA onto whatever item he came into contact with. At that point, we took a swab and sent it over to DNA, so hopefully we can get a suspect match.”

The suspect is estimated to be 25 to 35 years old, about 5’9, with a medium build and facial hair. A witness says he has tattoos on the fingers of his left hand.

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