Three convenience stores robbed and police believe it was the work of one young man

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Three convenience stores robbed and police believe it was the work of one young man.

Surveillance pictures from the Food Mart on Central show a man in his late teens or early 20's wearing a Toronto Raptors hat and carrying a black knapsack, entering the store before midnight.

"I think he's young," said CMPD Detective Marty Cuthbertson, "and he's either on drugs or desperate to get whatever he's getting, that's my assumption."

He walks around the aisles in a non-chalant manner.

There was another customer in the store, so he waits until the coast is clear. Then, he goes to the check-out counter to pay for his snacks.

But as the clerk gives him the total, the young man pulls a black handgun from his knapsack and demands money from the register.

The clerk hands over wads of cash.

And there's something else he wanted-- a specific brand of cigarettes, Newports.

As it turns out, the cigarettes, the gun, the knapsack and the Raptors hat were all spotted in two other convenience store robberies. One happened 20 minutes later at the Royal Express Mart on Albemarle Road. And six days later, it was the same kind of robbery at the Circle K on Idlewild Road.

Although this crook never harmed the clerk and actually put his gun back in his knapsack during the robber, police are worried he may be desperate enough to start using his gun.

"We're concerned it may turn violent, but so far it hadn't, we're just hoping we can stop him before that happens."

If you can help get him off Charlotte's streets, call Crime Stoppers at (704) 334-1600. There is reward money up to $1,000 available for good information.

And don't forget you can download the new Crime Stoppers app for your smart phone. You can get it free on our website,

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