Dover Police investigate 2 nearby armed robberies

DOVER — Two armed robberies within 18 minutes of each other and about a mile apart on U.S. 13 Tuesday night weren’t believed to be connected, authorities said.

The incidents occurred at the Kirkland’s store and Valero gas station, Dover Police spokesman Master Cpl. Mark Hoffman said. Unknown masked male suspects were sought in both cases and no injuries were reported.

The Kirkland’s sequence began when store employees located a black man in the stockroom and escorted him from the premises at 1033 N. DuPont Highway (U.S. 13).

Police said the ousted man returned about 10 to 15 minutes later, however, and was wearing a clown mask while demanding money from employees.

The time of the offense around 8:59 p.m. and no patrons were in the store at the time.
The suspect had his hand in a bag as if armed, Cpl. Hoffman said. He received an undisclosed amount of cash and then locked up employees in a back room with orders not to leave for 15 minutes. The man then fled.

The employees waited about 15 minutes before contacting police, and Dover officers arrived to unlock them from the room.
No weapon was seen, police said.

Police said the clown mask was identified in surveillance video, which wasn’t initially publicly released as investigators sought better quality images. Video would be provided when available, police said.
At the Valero at 530 N. DuPont Highway, an unknown white male suspect entered with a black handgun around 9:17 p.m. and demanded money, authorities said. An employee turned over an undisclosed amount of cash and the suspect fled on foot toward the Chatham Cove area.

The suspect was described as wearing all black clothing with a cloth wrapped around his face, police said. No surveillance video was immediately available.

Police said investigations are ongoing and asked anyone with information to call 736-7130. Callers may remain anonymous. Tips may also be submitted to law enforcement through Delaware Crime Stoppers at 800-TIP-3333 or online at delawarecrimestoppers.com; a cash reward of up to $1,000 is possible for information leading to an arrest.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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