ANNISTON, AL (WBRC) - Police in multiple Alabama agencies are looking at a series of robberies that may be connected.
Two of the robberies happened at Gadsden hotels Monday evening. The first one took place at the Hampton Inn, on River Road just off I-759, where bandits left without money. It was reported at 5:35 p.m.
The second, 19 minutes later according to Gadsden police reports, targeted a Holiday Inn Express near Highway 77 just off I-59. That time, bandits got away with $407.
And Springville's police chief confirms similarities with a third robbery that happened at Beebo's, a Shell convenience store, just off I-59 in his city.
In both Gadsden cases, one of the bandits asked "How much for a room?" before producing a silver handgun. And while they left the Hampton Inn without money, they may have left a few clues for Gadsden police detectives.
Witnesses in the Hampton Inn lobby say after the first man requested a room price, the second put a gun to an employee's head. That's when the first man jumped over the counter and began searching drawers.
A surveillance camera at the hotel caught the two men at the counter. Another camera at the nearby Super Hibachi Buffet and Grill, caught a dark colored car traveling through the parking lot and at one point stopping at the hotel's entrance, which faces Rainbow Drive.
Police chief Bill Lyle says a single man entered the station, and when other customers left, he robbed it with what appeared to be a revolver. Lyle didn't disclose the amount taken but says it was a small amount.
It was at the Springville store that someone who got a glimpse of the getaway car was able to describe it as a Kia Optima. The officer working the Hampton Inn case in Gadsden noted in his report the car on the Super Hibachi video appeared to match that description.
Lyle says he saw WBRC's story about someone robbing a Fuel City convenience store in Gardendale, and noted the surveillance photos show from that robbery also appeared to match the assailant in Springville.
Lyle says a trooper pursued a similar car on I-59 near Trussville but wasn't able to pull it over.
Cullman Police Chief Kenny Culpepper confirms his investigators are looking into a connection to yet another robbery in his own city. This time it happened around 2:07 p.m. Saturday afternoon at another Holiday Inn Express, this time next to I-65. Culpepper says two men fitting the same descriptions came into the lobby, and one pulled a silver revolver and demanded cash from an employee. The other climbed over the counter and demanded the clerk open drawers for him.
The suspects in this case are described as 6' to 6' 10" tall, wearing hoodies. In the Gadsden cases, one hoodie was gray and one was blue. Both were described as wearing gloves.