Police hunt for brazen bandits after 8 armed robberies

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Police are looking for a group of men believed to be connected to at least eight aggravated robberies of businesses dating back to early June. One of the men shot at an employee in the latest robbery.

The shooting happened July 19 about 7:30 p.m. at the Texaco Food Mart near Pleasant Valley Road and William Cannon Drive. The gunman fired at a cashier but instead hit a cash box which now displays a large bullet hole. Austin Police on Wednesday charged Marcello Christian Douglas, 32, with aggravated robbery in that incident and booked into the Travis County Jail on $50,000 bond.

“All of a sudden the dude comes in, puts on a mask, and says ‘give me the money, give me the money,'” said Gil Radilla, a cashier confronted by one of the men. “I was really scared. I never had a gun pointed at me.”

The suspects also targeted several businesses more than once. The Viva Market in the 8600 block of North Lamar was robbed twice. The Del Marisco La Catedral Restaurant on East Cesar Chavez Street was robbed three times in less than a month.

Augustine Lopez, son of the owners and manager of the restaurant, was working Fourth of July when they were hit the second time.

“My mind just went blank. You don’t know how to react to that,” he said. “There’s no chance of fighting him, he’s got a gun. There’s really nothing you can do.”

After that robbery the family began locking the back entrance to the restaurant and put up surveillance cameras, but that didn’t deter the armed bandits. They restaurant was robbed again last week.

At that point, Lopez says his mother wanted to close the place and sell it, but he told her no. “Eventually he’s going to rob the wrong person or wrong place and he could end of dead,” Lopez said. “Or the police might get him and he’ll go to jail.”

Austin police have surveillance video and believe as many as four black or mixed-race men in their early to mid-20s are responsible for the crimes. Authorities say one or two of the men commit the robbery while the others serve as lookouts or drive the getaway vehicle.

The main suspects is a black or mixed-race man in his early to mid-20s who is about 5 feet 7 inches tall with a thin build. Police say he has cornrows or braids with a unique hairline. APD did not have photos of the suspects to release to the public.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Det. David Gann in APD’s Robbery Unit at (512) 974-5778 or Robbery Unit Detectives at (512) 974-5270.

1. Friday, June 6, 2014, 9:04 p.m.
8610 N LAMAR BLVD, Apt # 100, AUSTIN 78758

2. Friday, June 20, 2014, 10:43 p.m.
2711 E CESAR CHAVEZ ST, Apt # A, AUSTIN 78702

3. Saturday, June 21, 2014, 10:28 p.m.
5200 E WILLIAM CANNON DR, AUSTIN 78744

4. Friday, July 4, 2014, 6:46 p.m.
2711 E CESAR CHAVEZ ST, AUSTIN 78702

5. Friday, July 4, 2014, 8:18 p.m.
2765 E SH 71 WB, AUSTIN 78617

6. Thursday, July 17, 2014, 5:14 p.m.
2711 E CESAR CHAVEZ ST, AUSTIN 78702

7. Thursday, July 17, 2014, 9:38 p.m.
8610 N LAMAR BLVD, AUSTIN 78758 (Viva Market)

8. Saturday, July 19, 2014, 7:21 p.m.
6607 S PLEASANT VALLEY RD, AUSTIN 78744 (Texaco Food Mart)

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