CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - There's been another stick-up at a Latino store by young Latinos. Now, police wonder if it's gang-related, or if it's the same group who've robbed a string of Hispanic businesses since summer began?
The latest robbery happened on a Friday afternoon. On surveillance video, two young men appear outside the La Villa grocery on Freedom Drive wearing heavy garb on a hot day.
"These guys look like may be 18 to 19 years old Latino males," said CMPD Detective Tori Roddey. He said they are so young, they make a rookie mistake.
"Right before they go in, one of the guys starts to put on his mask outside and it seems like the other one told him, 'no, hold up, hold up - don't do that just now.' And he took the ski mask and put it back up, so you could see his face."
We see the face of one man wearing a Chicago Bulls red logo on his black sweatshirt. The other one has a red SnapOn Tools logo on his black sweatshirt.
Once inside the store, they pull the masks back down and go to work, forcing one of the clerks to put her hands in the air.
"He went directly to two young ladies working there, put a gun to them and spoke in Spanish again, 'this is serious get on the floor.'"
Surveillance shows the bad guys forcing two people to lie down in one of the aisles.
"They both got on the ground and the other suspect went to the register and opened it up, starting taking the money out."
While police admit the red logos on the shirts could signify gang membership, they aren't absolutely sure. We do know that there have been a string of Latino businesses robbed by Hispanic suspects this summer.
So the question is, could this robbery be connected to those?
"Speaking with the detective, Paul, he's not quite sure it's related to the other series of robberies. But he says you never know because they do work in groups," the detective said.
Whether it's gangs or a roving band of bandits, police want them caught.
Can you help? Call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600. There is a sizeable reward offered to solve these types of robberies.