CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - There's been a rash of robberies in Charlotte-- and several look very similar.
Police are on the hunt for three violent men who they think pulled several jobs, including the recent stick-up of a convenience store that turned into a shootout.
The most recent happened at Jerry's Mini Mart on highway 27.
It was 9:30 p.m. when a woman and her nephew pulled in to get gas. The young man headed inside to pay. But a silver Pontiac G6 pulled in with three masked men inside. They told the kid to get back in his car. So he and his aunt did the smart thing--
"The witnesses, thank God, they ran once they realized what was going on, three masked guys rushing their way into the store," said CMPD Officer Tori Roddey.
And when the bad guys got in, they quickly went to work. One shirtless man pulled a silver handgun on the clerk. Another grabbed money from the till. And the third guy got physical with the other store employee.
"They roughed him up a little bit, they kicked him a bit trying to get the safe open, but it was the end of the day, they didn't have the code and they guys end up leaving out."
They left and the employee who took a beating, followed. He was met outside with gunfire.
"The employee happened to have a gun on him and he shot and returned fire back at them."
With bullets flying, the only thing that got hit, was the tire on the car belonging to the woman who'd run for her life.
"Anytime you exchange fire with an employee working here, you're definitely dangerous guys, we want to get them off the street."
They left in a silver Pontiac G6. Officer Roddey says CMPD is trying to link these guys with several other robberies around town, but right now, it's an open investigation.
If you can help, call Crime Stoppers at (704) 334-1600 and there's reward money available.