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Missoula police investigate three armed robberies

By Faith Smith, KECI Reporter, fcronin@keci.com
Published On: Dec 11 2012 08:29:08 AM MST
Updated On: Dec 12 2012 02:56:49 PM MST
MISSOULA, Mont. -

Police told us the first robbery occurred at the Noon's gas station on the corner of Mount and Russell at 12:45 Tuesday morning.  Only 20 minutes later the Lucky Lil's on North Reserve was also robbed.

The last hit was reported six hours after the second incident at the Town Pump Lucky Lil's near Brooks and Paxson.

Police told NBC Montana they believe all three armed robberies may be connected.  They told us there were a lot of similarities between all the cases.

Police said in each case the suspect entered the store with a silver firearm and demanded money out of the till. 

The suspect is described as a blond male, between 5-foot-6 and 5-foot-10.  He was wearing a dark, checkered hoodie that zipped in the front, blue jeans, and either black or white shoes. 

Witnesses say he may be driving a dark colored KIA and Hyundai SUV. 

NBC Montana headed out to all the crime scenes to find out more.  We talked to one Noon's customer who says she's just glad no one was injured in the robberies.

“I just think that the best thing to do is go along with it if it's happening while you’re there,” said Missoula resident Fran Locke.  “It's not worth giving your life or anybody else's for a bit of money.”

Missoula Police told me most convenience stores have a policy that teaches employees how to respond during a robbery situation.  

Missoula Police Sergeant Travis Welsh says all of the victims in these situations responded well.  Employees are told to do as the robber says and hand over the money.

“They follow instructions and do what the robber or suspect asks them to do,” said Welsh.  “After the person is gone and they feel it's safe to do so then they hit an alarm.”

The crimes are still under investigation.  Anyone with any information is urged to call the Missoula Police Department or call Crimestoppers at 721-4444.