by: Stephanie Coueignoux Updated:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Channel 9 uncovered the missing link connecting four armed robberies within the past four weeks.
Police said the same man has targeted Cook Out restaurants in four places: Denver, Indian Trail, southeast Charlotte and Salisbury.
The first robbery was on Highway 73 in Denver. Deputies said the robber shot his way through the front door, held up the manager, demanded money and then fled. Surveillance photos showed the man's car driving away.
The Lincoln County Sheriff's Office said the robbery at the restaurant was nearly identical to the one in Salisbury on Saturday. The robber shot through the locked glass front door, held up the employee inside and ran off with the cash.
That is not the only pattern.
The man averaged about one robbery per week – Dec. 22, Jan. 5, Jan. 13 and Jan. 18. The days were either Saturday, Sunday or Monday and all in the early-morning hours.
The overnight manager in Salisbury declined to comment on camera, but she told Channel 9 she thinks it's an inside job -- either a current or former employee. She said the robber seems to know the restaurants' routine.
Channel 9 obtained surveillance video of the suspect at a Charlotte Cook Out. Video showed he had the lower half of his face covered by a mask.
Channel 9 also spoke with a Cook Out spokesman who said the robber is targeting Cook Outs with glass front doors so he can shoot through them, as opposed to other locations which have front doors made out of steel.
Cook Out officials declined to share changes made to safety protocol for safety reasons.
Read past coverage:
Police investigate connections between four Cook Out robberies
Large police investigation on Poplar Tent Road in Cabarrus County
SWAT responds after man holed up in west Charlotte home
SC teacher accused of having sex with student found dead
Nurse practitioner accused of prescription fraud in Mooresville