Since July Local 2 has been tracking a rash of fast food robberies happening in nearly every corner of the greater Houston area.
From July 23rd to mid-August, there were eight. In the past week, we identified seven in Harris County.
Bad guys so brazen, crimes so violent, they're striking fear deep into the heart of our community, making some people think twice about going out and grabbing something to eat.
Fast food robberies in Houston are up slightly, by over 3 percent.
Local 2 talked to a local security and tactical training expert who says fast food places are targets because they're open late, operate mostly in cash and are often staffed by small crews of young adults or minors.
"They're actually looking for something easy in and easy out. That, in my opinion, is the rationale behind it," said Hanan Yadin of ISI Training Center.
What's most frightening, these robbers will stop at nothing to get what they want. Nothing intimidates them. Not state of the art surveillance systems, alarms, adequate lighting or even fortified drive-thrus.
"The message is, we're serious, don’t mess with us!" Yadin said.
Officers on the street are waging war against these crooks. They're trying to identify patterns in these crimes so they can increase patrols around restaurant locations that might be vulnerable, but investigators tell Local 2 these crimes are difficult to address without solid leads.
"Robbery division, we are, whenever necessary, reaching out to the public to help us identify some," said Capt. Lori Bender with the Houston Police Department.
So far, there have been arrests in both the Denny's and Subway deadly robbery cases. Crime Stoppers hopes rewards will continue to encourage anyone with tips to come forward with information to get these crooks off the street.