Two Niagara County stores robbed hours apart

LOCKPORT, N.Y. (WIVB)  – Officials in Niagara County are trying to track down who’s responsible for two robberies late Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning.

Tuesday evening, officials say the Sunoco at High and South Transit Street in Lockport was robbed. The suspect, a white male with a medium build, entered the story around 11:30 p.m. and, after flashing a handgun, demanded money from the clerk. But he left with no cash.

Around two hours later, a 15-year-old was arrested in the same area after being questioned. Police say the teen had a fake handgun and told officers he was on his way to rob the 7-Eleven on High Street and South Transit.

Investigators say while interviewing the teen, he admitted robbing the 7-Eleven at High Street and South Transit around 4 a.m. on April 6. He is charged with second degree robbery. Police say the teen is a suspect in the Sunoco robbery and they are searching for his alleged accomplice in the 7-Eleven robbery on Sunday.

Then around 2:30 a.m. Wednesday morning, the 7-Eleven on Ward Road in Wheatfield was robbed. Niagara County Sheriff’s deputies say the clerk at the store called for help and reported a robber threatened to pull out a gun and demanded money from the cash register.

The suspect is described as a white man around 5’8″ and 175 pounds. He was wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt and grey sneakers.

This is the second time the 7-Eleven on Ward Road in Wheatfield has been robbed. Last Thursday, a man described as white, 5’11” and 160 pounds with blue eyes and possibly blond hair attempted to rob the store around 1 a.m. No money was taken in that incident.

“I’m guessing probably in 2013 we’ve had a total of, from the sheriff’s agency, four robberies. This year we’ve probably had about 20,” said Chief Deputy Steven Preisch with the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office.

In the last two weeks, authorities say there have been a half dozen robberies, which may be tied to one another. They’ve taken place at convenience stores and smoke shops in Wheatfield, on the Tuscarora Indian Reservation, and in Niagara Falls. In all of them, at most, $60 was taken. In some cases, the robber left with nothing.

“They’re not accomplishing much. They’re putting a lot of people at risk, they’re putting themselves at risk for an encounter with law enforcement, and they’re walking away with very little,” said Chief Deputy Preisch.

He believes the robbers are looking to fuel a drug habit.

“The scary part is a rational person wouldn’t have committed these robberies to begin with,” he said.

Anyone with information on any of these recent robberies is asked to call the sheriff’s office.

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