Two Howard County 7-Eleven stores were held up this week, county police said yesterday.
The 7-Eleven in the 9400 block of Frederick Road in Ellicott City was robbed late Tuesday and the 7-Eleven in the 5700 block of Columbia Road in Columbia was robbed late Sunday, police said.
Minutes before the Tuesday robbery, police said an employee arriving at work saw a man in his late teens wearing a black hooded sweat shirt using a pay phone outside the store.
The man, described to police as black, 5 feet 9 inches to 5 feet 10 inches and 150 to 160 pounds, entered the store about 11 p.m. and announced a robbery. He was armed with a partially rusted, gray semiautomatic handgun.
After taking an undisclosed amount of cash from the register, the man ran east on Frederick Road, police said. Authorities were unable to apprehend him, but they said no one was hurt in the robbery.
Two days earlier, about the same time, two black men in their late teens to early 20s held up a Columbia 7-Eleven, police said.
Both were described to police as 5 feet 6 inches to 5 feet 9 inches with medium builds, black coats and jeans. One man wore a mask and the other wore a dark hooded sweat shirt with the hood pulled over his face, police said.
One displayed a handgun, police said, adding that they fled with an undisclosed amount of money.
Because of the similarities in the crimes and in the robbers' descriptions, police are investigating whether the two robberies are connected, county police spokeswoman Sherry Llewellyn said.