A convenience store clerk shot and critically injured an attempted robber Saturday afternoon, the fourth robbery in Baytown in recent days.
Add the robbery of a smoke shop Thursday that is within sight of the convenience store and it becomes clear the city is seeing an unusual rash of violent crime, said Lt. Eric Freed, a spokesman with Baytown Police Department.
"We've been tested this past week," Freed said. "All are active investigations."
The only case with a suspect in custody is the attempted robbery Saturday at Alexander Food Store in the 2100 block of North Alexander, a convenience store in a residential neighborhood that Freed said has been robbed before this incident.
Suspect critically hurt
According to Freed, a 41-year-old man wearing a mask and carrying a gun walked in and demanded money from the clerk about 11 a.m.
The clerk produced his own handgun and asked the masked man to put down his gun before shooting. The suspect ran out of the store after being hit and collapsed in the parking lot. A Life Flight crew transported him to Memorial Hermann-The Texas Medical Center in critical condition after police arrived and took him into custody. Charges of aggravated robbery are pending.
His name has not been released, but Freed said Baytown police had previously arrested the man for theft in 2010.
On Friday morning, three armed men with bandanas covering their faces robbed AT&T Wireless in the 6600 block of Garth, herding employees and customers into a back room as they grabbed phones. According to Freed, they left in a silver van Freed said was stolen in Harris County. Witnesses say they abandoned it in a mall parking lot across the street, moving into a black Chevrolet Impala with tinted windows last seen going north.
Trio robs bank
Less than two miles south at 11:16 a.m. Friday, three men wearing dark hoodies entered a Compass bank, holding employees and customers at gunpoint while collecting money from a teller. One employee sustained minor head injuries after being hit, Freed said. Those suspects left in a white Dodge four-door truck with chrome step rails and were last seen traveling south on Garth.
Freed admits the timing and location of those two robberies could indicate a connection, but said nuances and details of the crimes suggest otherwise.
"But we're not ruling out the possibility," he said.
The Baytown robbery spree started at 8:07 p.m. Thursday when a man wearing a bandana over his face entered the Tobacco Barn in the 1600 block of North Alexander, pointed a gun at an employee, demanded money, then jumped over the counter. Freed said he took cash from the register and several packages of cigarettes before running southbound.
Baytown Crime Stoppers is offering up to $2,000 for information leading to the arrest of a suspect involved in this rash of robberies. Anonymous tips can be shared by calling 281-427-8477, texting 274637 or online at https://www.tipsubmit.com/WebTips.aspx?AgencyID=544.