String of robberies investigated in Willimantic

File photo of Willimantic police.

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. (WTNH)– The first robbery in Willimantic happened at the Shans Mart gas station just before 11:00 Monday night. News 8 has learned one of the two suspects went right behind the counter catching the clerk off guard.

Police believe the two men who robbed the Shans Mart then headed to the Valero gas station in Willimantic. Two robberies in ten minutes. This is also the second time the Valero station has been held up this month.

Emilio Marquez, a customer at Shans Mart, says, “I think it’s horrible you know. I think they should stop doing that. We have kids running around and I just think it’s crazy.”

Eutacio Bautista owns the market across the street from Shans Mart. He tells News 8, “you can not say never going to happen to me or something but I”m not afraid. This is my business that’s what I do for a living.”

He believes the economy may be the reason some have turned to a life of crime, targeting more and more businesses like his.

“I believe the police officers better do more patrolling like night time and stuff like that. I hope they catch those people they’re doing something they’re not supposed to do,” said Bautista.

Police believe the gas station robberies are connected but haven’t said if they believe the robbery at the Family Dollar store Sunday night is also connected. One of the two suspects there reportedly acted as if he had a weapon. News 8 has asked police for surveillance pictures to help identify the thieves.

Marquez says, “I don’t want to get arm robbed when I’m pumping gas or something so it’s alarming to me.” We asked, “Getting kind of scary?” He answered, “Yeah a little bit.”

The clerk on duty at Shans Mart Tuesday wasn’t on duty Monday night during the robbery but he was on duty several years ago when there was an attempted robbery at the store.

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