Sweepstakes parlor players beware

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A two-man team of sweepstakes parlor robbers are on the loose in west Charlotte.

And players beware-- it isn't just the parlors who are losing money.

Most sweepstakes parlors keep their front doors locked until they can see who's wanting to come in.

At 5:30AM last month, a woman rang the bell at a gaming house on Sunset Road. The manager looked her over, then buzzed her in.

When the door opened, two men, who had been hiding behind a corner, made a run for the door. They pushed the manager to the ground and drew their guns.

Surveillance shows both men with hoods and masks.

One took the manager to the back room to open the cash box. The other put a gun on the two customers in the store, stealing a woman's purse and a man's wallet.

All together, the crooks pocketed more than $1,400.

Six weeks later, at a sweepstakes parlor on nearby Brookshire Boulevard, police believe the same two disguised men struck again.

This time, they didn't wait for a woman to ring the bell. They came to the door wearing their hoods and masks. A female clerk let them in. Why?

"I don't know," said CMPD Detective Marty Cuthbertson, "perhaps just for the sake of making money or making profits for the business, but I would think if you couldn't see their faces, I wouldn't open the door at all."

This second robbery was much like the first, except that this time, the bandits fired a couple of pistol shots into the ceiling.

I asked Detective Cuthbertson if customers who play these video games should be concerned for their safety?

"If it were me, or some friend or family," he said, "I would be very concerned because this place is known to have a lot of cash and when you have cash, you're a target."

Although you couldn't see their faces, police believe they are the same two men in both robberies based on their clothing and body size.

If you know anything that could help, call Crime Stoppers at (704) 334-1600 and you won't have to leave your name to earn a reward.

If you'd like to join Charlotte's crime fighting team, you or your company can make a donation to Charlotte Crimestoppers by PayPal. Follow this link http://www.charlottecrimestoppers.com/donation__membership