CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - In the past month, CMPD reports 14 armed robberies along the Albemarle Road corridor.
The latest happened at a strip mall off Albemarle and East WT Harris Boulevard.
Outside surveillance shows store owner Arnaldo Perez pulling up and parking. But his car had some electrical malfunction. Perez got out and popped his bonnet-- then bent over the engine compartment to take a look at the fuse box.
He eventually walked back around the car to get something he needed. When walked back, he noticed two people off in the parking lot. But he's busy solving his problem and stuck his head in the passenger side of the car , concentrating on his electrical issue.
With his back turned, two people ran up, and one had a gun. It caused both gunman and victim to flinch in fright.
"He didn't really see them, they put the gun to his head, demanded all his money," said CMPD Detective Marty Cuthbertson. "They threatened to shoot and kill him, but he was not harmed."
They pilfered his pockets, taking his wallet, a flash drive and key to his store. Then ordered him not to look back.
"He was afraid to look back."
It was an understandably frightening experience, but it got us thinking-- about my Crime Stoppers from two weeks ago, when two young men followed a man into the bathroom, put a gun in his back and pilfered his pockets.
Does CMPD believe it could be the same crooks?
"I think so," said the detective. "Because it's within two and a half miles of this location. It could be the same guys."
The men appear to be between 25 and 30 years old, but perhaps younger. If you know anything about either stickup, please call Crime Stoppers at (704) 334-1600-- you won't have to leave your name, there's a cash reward available.