2 wanted in series of armed robberies

HOUSTON - Deputies are looking for a man and woman who have targeted at least four businesses in east Harris County in the past couple of weeks.

Harris County sheriff's deputies said the first robbery was Sept. 14 at a loan office in 13400 block of Woodforest. The two posed as customers before the man went behind the counter, pulled a knife and took all the money from the cash register, investigators said.

Detectives said they identified the man as 25-year-old Joseph Payton, who previously served a six-year sentence for armed robbery.

On Sept. 23, Payton and the woman hit a convenience store on Normandy Street, detectives said. This time, Payton had a gun, deputies said.

Payton apparently gave the gun to his lady friend, who used it a short time later to take down a cellphone store nearby, investigators said.

Deputies said on Sept. 27, the two robbed another loan office in the 12600 block of Woodforest. The woman held a gun on the clerk and forced her to clean out the safe and cash register, investigators said.

Detectives haven't found Payton yet, but he's charged with three counts of aggravated robbery.

The woman has not yet been identified.

Anyone with information regarding Payton's whereabouts and/or the woman's identity and her whereabouts is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.

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