HPD: Armed robbers target 4 different businesses

By Andy Cerota - Anchor/Reporter , Amanda Perez , Kelci Johnston - News Producer

HOUSTON - Police are trying to determine if the same group men is responsible for a string of robberies at several northeast Houston businesses. According to officers, two of those businesses were simultaneously hit around 10 p.m. Wednesday.

Police said three to five men dressed in all black and wearing masks first ran into a building on the North Loop East Freeway and Lockwood Drive, robbing both the Chevron and the McDonald's inside.

A McDonald's employee, who identified herself as Lakeisha says she was about to serve a customer her food when an armed man entered the restaurant and demanded the eight customers inside get on the ground.

"Still shook up. Scared," Lakeisha said. "I thought it was a joke at first."

But then she saw a second guy in the back of the restaurant and realized the pair was about the rob the place.

"He was like, 'Where's the safe at? Where's the safe? Where's the safe? We want the safe. Give us the safe,'" Lakeisha said.

She says he was armed too.

"He had a gun and he had it at my head so I couldn't do nothing but just put my hands up and give him what he wanted," Lakeisha said.

Police say the same armed men held up the adjoining Chevron station right before they robbed the McDonald's. Surveillance video shows the robbers demanding money from the register.

On Wednesday night, a total of four northeast Houston businesses were targeted by robbers in a matter of minutes. Police haven't said if one group of suspects committed all the crimes.

"We could have lost our lives last night," Lakeisha said.

She said the robbers got away with $500. Chills run down her spine every time she thinks about what one of the armed men did as he was leaving the restaurant.

"While he was walking off he was just pointing the gun at us, he was pointing the gun at us, then he left. That was it," Lakeisha said.

Police say they also took a customer's wallet and opened fire in the parking lot before running off, police said. A customer told police a suspect shot at her as she tried to run away from McDonald's.

"When they were leaving the location, they [fired] several shots back towards the store," said Lieutenant Larry Crowson with the Houston Police Department. "They struck a customer's car at least two times."

Investigators said they believe the same suspects could also be responsible for two other robberies that were reported at a Valero gas station on North Shepherd Drive and West 16th Street and a convenience store in the 6400 block of North Main. All of the robberies happened in a 30-minute period.

"They were wearing masks, [so] it's hard to tell if they were related," Lt. Crowson said. "But the way they held up the stores and their dress were pretty similar."

Police said the suspects may have left the scene in a white vehicle, and they are reviewing surveillance video in hopes of tracking them down.

No one was injured during any of the robberies.

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