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Serial robber named Baltimore's 'Most Wanted'

A serial robber who often wears a blue hoodie and khaki pants was named Baltimore's first "Most Wanted" suspect after hitting a string of businesses across the city and into Baltimore County since at least October, police announced Tuesday.

"We need someone to step forward and help get this person off the street," Baltimore Deputy Commissioner Kevin Davis said. "He's terrorizing our business community."

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The robber, who police say brandishes a gun, has been hitting mostly convenience stores — some repeatedly, police said. He has become so prolific and confounding that police formed a task force with Baltimore County and the FBI to identify and arrest him.

A Metro Crime Stoppers reward of $2,000 for information leading to the robber's arrest has been increased to $12,000 by the FBI — the second time in about 10 days the agency has increased the reward.

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City detectives described suspect as a black man in his mid-30s, about 5 feet 9 inches tall and 230 pounds. Surveillance videos show him often wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt. He wears khaki pants so frequently during his crimes that FBI agents have dubbed him the "Khaki robber."

Police say he strikes both day and night.

Witnesses have told detectives he often comes into stores acting as if he's going to buy something before flashing a gun just as a clerk starts to ring him up.

"Clearly it speaks to the gravity that we're here again today asking for the public's assistance in identifying this suspect," FBI agent Patrick Dugan said at a news conference at Baltimore police headquarters.

Police are not identifying the stores the robber has struck, but the FBI has said they include the Royal Farms in the 3700 block of Fleet St., a 7-Eleven in the 5900 block of Pulaski Highway and the High's of Baltimore store in the 8700 block of Liberty Road in Randallstown.

Kaushal Sheth, manager of the Dunkin' Donuts in the 3700 block of Wilkens Ave. in Southwest Baltimore, said police told him they believed the robber was the one who came to his store last month.

"He came in wearing a mask and walked in the store and went to the cash register and just told me to open the door," Sheth said. "He had the gun in his right hand."

Sheth said the robber acted so smoothly that a customer and a store worker approached the register without noticing that the store was being held up. Sheth said the robber didn't point the gun at anyone, just told both people to back away, then grabbed the cash and left.

The most recent crime statistics show Baltimore commercial robberies are up 103 percent over last year. As of Jan. 31, police say, 77 commercial robberies have been reported citywide.

City police say they plan to use the "Most Wanted" distinction to gather tips on especially troublesome robbers and other criminals they need the public's help finding.

Two years ago, city police began using a "Public Enemy No. 1" designation to help find fugitives suspected of homicides or attempted homicides. Police have used it four times, and in each case it coincided with the swift arrest of the person they sought.

Baltimore police spokesman Capt. Eric Kowalczyk said the "Most Wanted" program is reserved for less violent, but just as sought-after, offenders, he said.

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Tips on the serial robber can be called in to Metro Crime Stoppers at 1-866-7LOCKUP or the FBI at (410) 265-8080.

Twitter.com/justingeorge

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