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Man sought in Indiana armed robberies likely the same suspect in Portage, Kalamazoo cases

This image is from a surveillance camera in a Portage, Michigan, convenience store. (Courtesy: Portage Police Department)

A man sought in an armed robbery investigation by the Indiana State Police is also a suspect in robberies in Portage and Kalamazoo, Michigan. And Kalamazoo authorities said Friday that the suspect should be considered dangerous.

Investigators in Indiana and in Michigan are seeking the public's help in locating the suspect, who was last seen in Indiana heading south from a Speedway in Auburn, Ind., early Monday, Oct. 9, 2017. A day later, investigators believe, he was in Michigan.

"I would absolutely say this subject is dangerous and I would certainly consider that he could still be armed," said Sgt. Charles Treppa, with Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety's Criminal investigations Division.

Treppa said KDPS, Portage Department of Public Safety and Indiana State Police are in close contact regarding information that may help lead to an arrest.

"We’re certainly on a daily sharing basis with them—whether it’s just to check in to see if there’s been any tips received by them and vice versa," Treppa said.

Police believe the same man who was caught on surveillance video Tuesday, Oct. 10, during a robbery of a Portage convenience store. The images reveal a man in a knit cap, and with a scarf or mask on his face, sliding across the store counter near the cash register. A similar description was given for a man involved in a robbery in Kalamazoo, at the Campus Party Store, 2627 W. Michigan Ave., hours later.

"If he’s willing to strike one, two, three, maybe even as many as five times is what we’re looking at, the likelihood of doing something like this again is absolutely real and that’s why we have such urgency behind this," Treppa said.

Indiana State Police Detective Mike Carroll said the Speedway there, on W. 7th Street in Auburn, was robbed at 3:36 a.m. Monday, when a men entered the gas station, displayed a handgun and demanded cash. The man left the Speedway with an undisclosed amount of cash, the Indiana police agency said in a written update on the case. No one was injured and only the clerk was present at the time.

As part of the investigation, police learned that similar armed robberies took place Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017, in Logansport, Indiana, and Peru, Indiana.

Police believe the man is driving a silver, four-door sedan. Treppa said the man's gun is now in KDPS possession and investigators are finding leads from the weapon.

"That doesn’t mean this could be the last one [robbery]. We certainly want to reach out and apprehend this person, hold him responsible for the events that have already occurred before another one could happen," Treppa said.

In Indiana, Carroll is asking anyone who recognizes the man from the surveillance photos or who might have any information to contact either the Indiana State Police in Fort Wayne at 260-432-8661 or the Auburn Police Department at 260-920-3200. Anonymous calls will be accepted.

"We’re urging anybody with any information if we can take a look at the still shots, look at the vehicle that we believe may be involved to reach out to Kalamazoo public safety," Treppa said, mentioning people should also reach out to the Portage Department of Public Safety if they know information.

In the Kalamazoo area, anyone with information can contact the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety at 269-337-8120.

"We have success in solving criminal cases due to community involvement, community care and that communication line that’s open between us and the community—they are fundamental in solving most of these crimes we investigate," said Treppa.






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