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Police On Alert As String Of Hotel Robberies Grows

WESTMINSTER, Colo. (CBS4) - Police across the metro area are investigating a string of hotel robberies.

There have been 11 robberies in the past month. The latest, like the others, was captured on surveillance video. It happened Thursday night in Westminster at the Comfort Inn at Highway 35 and Sheridan.

When the masked gunman held up the hotel, he jumped the front counter and ripped the camera off the wall. But he didn't realize that cameras were everywhere at that particular Comfort Inn, including outside..

"We think he came in on foot," Trevor Materasso with Westminster police said.

For nearly four minutes the gunman paced outside and then put on a mask and walked in the lobby.

"He did come through with a mask, he did point a gun at the desk clerk, and he jumped over the counter and told him that he did want his money and if he didn't get down on the ground he was going to shoot him," said Robert Kitzhoffer, Comfort Inn General Manager.

The gunman didn't seem to be in a hurry. He took cash and checked drawers. He spent a lot of time looking around before finally leaving.

"During this robbery he actually takes a cell phone from a hotel employee and disconnects the phones so when he leaves that employee is unable to call 911," Materasso said.

A panic button alerted police.

The robber didn't get much money.

"We keep minimal money. Most hotels are all credit cards, so there's not that much money on the property," Kitzhoffer said.

It was the 11th hotel since Labor Day to be hit by a takeover style robber. In Golden the gunman didn't rip down the camera, but turned it to a position that ended up catching his crime. It's hard to tell if it's the same suspect. Police are looking for similarities.

"This hotel sits right near a major highway interchange which is another similarity to the other hotels that have been robbed," Materasso said.

So far no one has been hurt.

"I want the guy caught," Kitzhoffer said.

Westminster police brought in a dog that picked up a strong scent believed to be from the robber but the scent ended where police believe the getaway car fled.

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