The police chief in Clanton has a big problem on his hands. Chief Brian Stilwell says there's been a rash of armed robberies in his city.
He thinks the same crook has committed robberies in several other towns, including Hoover.
Authorities believe it is one guy acting alone in all these situations. They suspect he may be travelling up and down I-65 looking for targets.
Over the last months he's hit five Alabama towns that are as far as three plus hours away from each other. Police hope to stop him before hits more.
One of the most recent victims was a clerk at an Exxon gas station who goes by "Christina." She described what happened during the robbery.
"Was about 7:40. I was standing at the counter and I heard the door open. The guy came in, pointed the gun at me and said, where's the money?" Christina said.
She said all she could think to do was take the bag the robber gave her and quickly begin to fill it.
"I just did what he told me to do because I got four kids at home," she said.
That robbery was on Tuesday. The Friday before, a similar robbery happened at the Inn of Clanton.
It too, happened early in the morning, around 6:23 a.m., when a robber walked in demanding money. Surveillance video shows the clerk quickly complying.
Then before he leaves, the robber makes the same request he'd made of Christina: "Lay down for me."
Clanton police say he's hit their town three times now, each time with the same MO.
"He's wearing the same white mask, sometimes maybe a shirt or something that covers his face completely, except for his eyes, and a gray hooded sweatshirt. He pulls the hoodie real tight. He wears gloves, and he has a black bag that he has the clerk put the money in. He's using some sort of large revolver-looking weapon," Chief Stilwell said.
But the suspect isn't staying in Clanton. Surveillance photos show him in a gas station robbery in Huntsville. There's also been a robbery at a hotel in Prattville, a robbery in Millbrook and at two small Hispanic stores in Hoover.
Each time the suspect has "the identical clothing, identical mask and weapon," Chief Stilwell said.
Most of his targets have been sites just off the interstate, where he's parked his white Cadillac Caterra nearby so he's got a quick getaway.
While all five agencies are working together, they're also asking for the public's help.
"Nobody's been injured so far. We're glad of that. But we definitely don't want him to get bolder and bolder and someone get injured," Stilwell said.
One interesting note is that the robber seems to be polite in some of the surveillance videos, even encouraging his victims, saying "Good job" after they comply with his demands.
That makes Chief Stilwell think he may not be a hard core criminal, and that he quite possibly may be a homeless person who's living out of his car.
Still, robbery is robbery, he says. And that's why they need your help in finding him.
If you have any information about this case, you're encouraged to contact your local police department.
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