NORTH MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) - The FBI is offering a $5,000 reward for evidence leading them to a gun-wielding robber who dresses like a ninja and is wanted in connection with nearly a dozen robberies across South Florida. Police say they have a new clue that may help authorities identify him.
Authorities said Wednesday the man dubbed the "ninja robber" has held up at least 11 businesses in Miami-Dade and Broward counties including a Kwik Stop store on 18198 NE 19th Avenue in North Miami Beach. Police believe the robber has hit that store twice and tried to rob it a third time Tuesday night.
Just hours after live TV news reports were broadcast about the armed robberies at the Kwik Stop, a man, who appears to be the same ninja robber, tried to get inside the store. He was foiled when the clerk quickly locked the door.
"He tried to come in with the mask and the gun, but my door was locked," said store owner Sanjoy Saha. Saha said the clerk pressed the button behind the counter to lock him out just in time. He ran away, but as he fled the cloth he had covering his face slipped, putting it in clear view of the surveillance cameras.
Clerk Lovlu Sarker told CBS4's Peter D'Oench he was inside the store every time the "ninja robber" struck.
"I was working here and he tried to get in a third time but this time another clerk looked around the store and locked the door. I was working here and I saw how he blocked the door. The other times he came here," said Sarker, "he said give me all your money."
"You'd like to see this guy caught?" D'Oench asked Sarker.
"Yes," said Sarker. "It would stop him from robbing all the time."
Two weeks ago he hit the same store. Paul Fairweather was shopping inside at the time.
"I was in the back of the store and I heard a commotion in front and I saw this gentleman jump the counter," he said. "So I ran to the door and tried holding it closed while they called the police... then he came out front, pulled his gun on me."
Fairweather says he let go of the door after the robber pointed the gun and tried to chase him, but he got away.
Police describe the ninja robber as a white male with a stocky build.
"He holds people up with no regard for anyone in the store," North Miami Beach Det. Michael Stein said. "(He) points his gun at everybody. He's jeopardizing a lot of lives. This has to stop."
Saha believes the guy is a regular customer of his who is getting more and more brazen.
"We think the guy may be around here, he's trying to play with us you know," said Saha. "He knows everything about my store. We think so. Last time he robbed he said give me the three pack of Newports and he showed them where is the Newports. He knows that."
So far the Ninja Robber has not hurt any of the victims, but police said during a May robbery he held a gun to a customer's head threatening to blow her brains out if the clerk didn't hand over cash.
In a previous robbery at Saha's store, he smashed the cash register and took off with everything he could get his hands on.
"I want to tell the police department, please try to find the guy, help the neighbors," said Saha.
Customers also want him behind bars so they and the clerks stay safe.
"They shouldn't have to go through that at all. Shouldn't have to go through that," said customer Jose Rodriguez.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Miami FBI office at 305-944-9101, Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS or Broward Crime Stoppers at (954) 493-TIPS. All tipsters can remain anonymous.
Here's a list of the ninja robberies:
- Date/Time: May 12, 2012 at 11:04 pm
- Location: Kwik Stop, 17200 West Dixie Highway
- Date/Time: June 23, 2012 at 10:55 pm
- Location: Shell Gas Station, 1420 East Sunrise Blvd
- Date/Time: July 1, 2012 at 10:41 pm
- Location: Petrolio Gas Station, 1554 South Federal Highway
- Date/Time: July 13, 2012 at 12:18 am
- Location: Kwik Stop, 18198 NE 19th Avenue
- Date/Time: July 15, 2012 at 9:45 pm
- Location: Chevron Gas Station, 13005 Biscayne Blvd
- Date/Time: August 3, 2012 at 9:40 pm
- Location: Marina Discount Beverage, 2705 SW 15th Avenue
- Date/Time: August 6, 2012 at 1:05 am
- Location: Chevron Gas Station, 4051 Stirling Road
- Date/Time: August 14, 2012 at 4:26 pm
- Location: Citgo Gas Station, 15200 Biscayne Blvd
- Date/Time: August 15, 2012 at 7:00 am
- Location: Badoma Plaza, 1989 NE 19th Avenue
- Date/Time: August 18, 2012 at 11:59 pm
- Location: Kwik Stop, 18198 NE 19 Avenue
- Date/Time: August 22, 2012 at 12:58 am
- Location: Citgo Gas Station, 2109 Griffin Road
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