Cops countywide searching for robbery suspects | VailDaily.com
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Cops countywide searching for robbery suspects

Christine Ina Casillas Daily Staff Writer
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“There has been a cooperative effort between the agencies to find out if there are any connections in the robberies,” said Eagle County Sheriff Joe Hoy. “We’re sharing information on how the three robberies occurred and what they all have in common.”

Investigators from Avon, Vail and Eagle County have not determined if the robberies this month at Burger King in Avon, the Colorado Business Bank in Edwards and the Apex Lodge in West Vail are connected and are analyzing possible similarities in the cases, Hoy said.

“There’s not a lot we can comment on right now,” said Vail police Commander Steve Wright. “But we are working on the robberies.”

The latest in the three robberies happened Sunday when a suspect wearing a ski mask and dark clothing robbed the Burger King in Avon and threatened the clerks with a pistol. He made off with some money, but police would not say how much.

In the early morning hours of Jan. 18, also a Sunday, an armed man dressed in black and also wearing a black ski mask made off with less than $300 when he held-up the Apex Lodge – formerly the West Vail Lodge – on the North Frontage Road in West Vail.

The man entered the lodge’s deserted lobby shortly after 5 a.m. that day, threatened the front desk clerk and demanded money. Police reports said the masked man was carrying either a shotgun or a rifle.

The male clerk handed over money from the cash drawer, and the robber left through the front door. The clerk was not injured.

The manager of the lodge, Raj Bhakta, said the incident was over in less than 60 seconds. The clerk who reported the robbery returned to work the next day, Bhakta said.

On Jan. 6, a bank employee was injured when a man and perhaps an unseen accomplice robbed the Colorado Business Bank in the Northstar Center near the Interstate 70 interchange in Edwards.

Eagle County sheriff’s investigators released few details but the man apparently robbed the bank as it was opening around 8 a.m. and shortly after money had been delivered to it by an armored truck. The woman, who suffered minor injuries and was released from the hospital later that day, was alone when the robbery occurred.

“The employee called and said the bank had been robbed and she needed assistance,” Hoy said the day of the robbery. “The man had demanded money and took an undisclosed amount.”

While he was inside the bank, the suspect apparently spoke to someone on a two-way radio, but a second suspect was never seen, Hoy said.

A woman pulling into the parking lot at the bank that morning asked officers if there had been a robbery. The officer was heard to tell her he couldn’t “disclose any information.”

The woman replied: “Well, I’m glad I didn’t make a deposit before this happened this morning.”

Employees of neighboring stores in the Edwards Spur Road strip mall said they hadn’t noticed what was happening at the bank that morning.

The bank employee told deputies and FBI agents the suspect was male and about 5-foot-10. She also told investigators he was wearing a black coat, black pants, black mask and black gloves, but she didn’t know which direction he fled. She also said the robber spoke English but didn’t sound “mature,” police said.

The robber led authorities to lock down county schools for a few hours that morning. During, no one is allowed to leave or enter the schools.

No arrests have been made in any of the robberies.

Vail Daily reporters Cliff Thompson and Matt Zalaznick contributed to this report.

Police seeking tips

Anyone with information pertaining to the robberies or any other crimes can call Avon Police Detective Mike Leake at 748-4026. To remain anonymous, call the Eagle County Crime Stoppers at 328-7007 or 800-962-TIPS


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