Two cash advance businesses were robbed about an hour apart in east Wichita on Monday, and police believe the same man committed both.
Another cash advance business was robbed Saturday afternoon. Police officials on Monday said the spike in robberies has nothing to do with the holidays. Typically, they are committed by people who need cash to fund a drug habit.
"We have that myth that people start robbing because they're needing money to buy presents," Lt. Mike Hennessy said.
The Check Into Cash at 6100 E. 21st St. was held up by a lone gunman at 11:21 a.m., authorities said. A little more than an hour later, the Advance America business at 1353 S. Webb Road was robbed by an armed man.
Digital Access For Only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
The description of the suspect in the robberies is so similar that police believe the same man is responsible for both. They are also looking into whether Monday's robberies are linked to the holdup of the Advance America business at 327 N. Hillside at 12:44 p.m. Saturday.
"It seems like people are comfortable with (robbing) a certain institution, and they stick with that," Hennessy said.
No arrests in the robberies have been made, he said, but "we're on the right track."
"We have an idea" who might be behind the crimes, he said. "We are showing mug lineups" to witnesses.
Once the person responsible is arrested, Hennessy said, the number of robberies is likely to drop noticeably. That's because one or two people can be responsible for a large percentage of the crimes.
Two other robberies that occurred Monday morning are not connected to the robberies of the cash advance businesses, Hennessy said.
Just before 4 a.m. Monday, a man wearing a black ski mask, black clothes and toting what a witness called a military assault rifle slung over his back robbed the Kwik Shop at 4811 S. Seneca.
Three hours later, another robber struck the Wesley Inn, a hotel at 3343 E. Central.