Two men are being sought after they brandished a gun and made off with cash and cigarettes from the Admiral gas station on Alpine Avenue just south of 3 Mile Road around 1:30 a.m. on Wednesday.
Police had just visited the nearby Jimmy John's location several miles away on Alpine Avenue hours before for another robbery. The store located north of 4 Mile Avenue was robbed around 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday. Three Jimmy Johns employees were working at the time.
"The other two were in the back doing inventory, so I was the only person up front when it happened," said Matt Heinicke, a Jimmy Johns employee.
He said a man wearing a mask came in with a long gun and pointed it at his head, demanding cash from the register.
"It was a really big gun, not a gun you normally see in a robbery, I was definitely really scared," he said.
The robber took off with some cash and went out the door. Witnesses say he got away in a dark colored car with tinted windows and chrome wheels. Police arrived quickly, but he was already gone.
The new crimes are only the most recent of a string of robberies in the vicinity, including a 7-Eleven store on Alpine Avenue north of Leonard Street, a McDonald's on Leonard Street west of Alpine Avenue, and the Subway on North Alpine on October 7th. Several weeks ago, another McDonald's farther north on Alpine Avenue was hit.
The manager of the Admiral station told FOX 17 News the station had not been robbed since she became manager three years ago, but she wasn't surprised given the recent rash of robberies.
She described the robbers as being two black males wearing black hoodies, black pants, gloves, and masks. She said they were between 5'8" and 6 feet tall with a stocky build. They had a gun and demanded cash. They got about $300 and several cartons of cigarettes before taking off on foot.
The Kent County Sheriff's Department described the Jimmy John's robber as a thin, black male with short hair, about 6 feet tall, armed with a long gun. He was wearing a white t-shirt, dark pants, and a light colored bandana over his face. He drove off in a dark colored car with tinted windows and custom rims last seen driving northbound through parking lots along Alpine Avenue. It is unknown how much money he got. Investigators believe the crimes could still be connected.
"They are very serious, involving weapons, long guns and hand guns. We are deeply concerned so we are working with Grand Rapids and with Walker police and coordinating all our facts and details to see if they are in any way related, we don't know if they are," said Jon Hess, Undersheriff with Kent County Sheriff's Department.
Undersheriff Hess is working with the Admiral station to get surveillance photos of the suspect to get a better description.
Anyone who knows anything about these two robberies is asked to call the Kent County Sheriff's Department or Silent Observer at 1-866-774-2345.