The day after a man robbed the Chase Bank in the Citrus Plaza Marketplace Tuesday, Walnut Creek police said they have increased patrols in the eastern portion of the city and are working with Concord police to catch the different robbers who have hit at least 10 businesses in both cities since September.
Walnut Creek police Sgt. Tom Cashion added that detectives have identified several suspects in one or more of the cases. He declined to say which cases could soon be resolved until the Contra Costa District Attorney's office reviews the evidence and files charges.
Cashion added that different suspects are responsible for the different holdups, the in Walnut Creek and just over the border in Concord. The majority of the robberies have also been committed by men armed with guns.
Cashion said reserve officers have helped detectives conduct surveillance in the centers, and police have visited businesses owners and talked to them about crime prevention tips.
Tuesday's robbery at Chase Bank left residents in the Woodlands neighborhood in Walnut Creek, next door to Citrus Plaza, especially concerned.
"I am very worried," says Woodlands resident Christy Alexander. "I am just letting my sixth-grade daughter have some independence in the neighborhood and now I wonder if that is such a good idea."
Alexander and others in the neighborhood are hoping to work with city officials and WCPD to deal with the crime spree.
"We at City Hall are of course very concerned about these crimes," said Walnut Creek Council member Kish Rajan, who lives near the Woodlands and is a parent at Valle Verde Elementary School, located in the neighborhood. "I am in touch with our chief of police, as is our mayor, and we are meeting today and tomorrow, and will be speaking with Woodlands area leaders, to ensure we are taking all needed measures to protect this neighborhood and all neighborhoods in Walnut Creek."
The chart below shows counts 10 robberies in Walnut Creek and Concord.
Before Tuesday night's robbery at Chase, the took place Saturday when a man robbed the coffeehouse located on the corner of Treat Boulevard and Oak Grove Road just after 6:30 p.m.
The businesses targeted in the 10 holdups have mostly been restaurants, fast-food restaurants or coffee houses. The Kelly-Moore Paint store on North Main Street in Walnut Creek was robbed in early November.
Tuesday's holdup was the first to involve a bank.
Walnut Creek police received a call at 5:09 p.m. that the Chase Bank at 2200 Oak Grove Road had just been robbed. Witnesses told police that a white male adult came into the bank and handed the teller a note, demanding cash. The robber didn't display any kind of weapon. The teller handed over an undisclosed amount of cash and the robber fled, possibly in a burgundy four-door compact car.
The man was in his mid-40s, had dirty-blond hair and was wearing a thin black jacket with a gray sweatshirt underneath and black gloves.
At Oak Grove Road and Treat Boulevard, the sandwich shop in the same shopping center as Starbucks was also recently robbed. Across the street, at Oak Grove Plaza, the has been robbed twice within the past couple of months.
Closer to Ygnacio Valley Road, include the Quiznos and Panda Express in Citrus Plaza and the Taco Bell in the Encina Grande shopping center on Ygnacio Valley Road at Oak Grove.
No arrests have been made in any of the robberies.
Anyone with information on any of these robberies should call the Walnut Creek Police Department at (925) 943-5844.
The following chart of robberies of businesses in Walnut Creek and Concord was compiled from information reported on Walnut Creek Patch, Concord Patch, and the blog Claycord.com.DATE LOCATION BUSINESS TIME
OF DAY NO.
Starbucks 6:30 p.m. 1 Handgun
Dec. 3 Citrus Plaza Panda Express 10 p.m. 2 Handgun;
The robbery took place after closing time; employees refused to unlock doors to robbers Wednesday, Nov. 3 Encina Grande Taco Bell 9:14 p.m. 2 Guns;
Robbers jumped over cash register and took money.
Robbers struck one employee, forced others to open safe. Sunday,
Nov. 7 North Main Street Kelly-Moore Paints 5 p.m. 2 Guns
Monday, Oct. 18Oak Grove & Treat Round Table Pizza 9 p.m. 2
Forced victims to the ground and took money from safe.
Sept. 13 Oak Grove & Treat Round Table Pizza 8:40 p.m. 2 Handguns Monday, Sept. 6 Oak Grove & Treat Subway 9 p.m. 2 Handguns;
Robbers told victims to get on the ground.