SALINAS, Calif. - A recent rash of armed robberies this week is keeping Salinas police officers busy with 11 robberies in just three nights.
On Wednesday night, a masked gunman held up three businesses, including a Subway restaurant, but a sheriff's deputy was making his way inside.
The deputy saw the man holding a gun and wearing a mask. The suspect ran off and was able to get away.
Police are looking into whether one man could be behind several robberies on Tuesday in the city. Four robberies occurred within an hour of each other, but three of them committed by a similar suspect who got away with cash.
Here is a timeline of the events Tuesday:
First, at 6:26 p.m., the owner of a discount department store on Abbott Street was held up with a butcher knife. But as the suspect fumbled with the cash register, the owner went across the street to call 911. No money was taken, police said.
Then, at 7:31 p.m., an AM-PM by the Salinas Automall got robbed for the third time this month. this time the suspect held them up with a gun.
At 8:32 p.m., police said a man with a similar description as the robber from before robbed a 7-Eleven on North Sanborn Road.
But police said he didn't stop there. He showed up again with a gun at 9:20 p.m. to rob the Winchell's donut shop on Natividad Road.
Police think the last three are connected.
"The descriptions are similar: tall, thin male, possible black or dark-complexion Hispanic," said Salinas Police Commander Henry Gomez.
Police said this isn't out of the ordinary.
"Generally speaking, people that do armed robberies don't just do one; there are several that are committed," Gomez said, which is why police have a hunch this man has had prior run-ins with the law. Police said he is no beginner.
The suspect is linked to the 7-Eleven, donut shop and the AM-PM as well as a Round Table Pizza on Monday.