Authorities are looking into whether armed robber who held up a Winchell’s Donuts in the unincorporated Florence-Firestone area of South Los Angeles Wednesday morning had targeted two other donuts shops in Anaheim the day before.
All three incidents were captured on surveillance video.
The most recent occurred at the South L.A. Winchell’s, in the 1900 block of East Florence Avenue, at about 1:30 a.m.
Video shows a man in a yellow vest and black hoodie entering the shop and looking around. At one point, his face is uncovered while he apparently waits for a clerk to approach the register.
An employee said he was making doughnuts when he noticed the man in the shop and went to the counter.
The robber then pulled up a surgical-type mask to cover his face and got something out of his waistband.
“He pulled out a gun … I opened the register and gave him the money,” the employee said after the robbery.
The robber then left the store with the tray of cash.
The employee was not injured but was shaken by the incident.
“It was pretty scary," he said. "It was my second time being robbed.”
On Tuesday, an armed man went into another Winchell’s location in Anaheim, at 901. S. Euclid St., around 4 a.m., Anaheim Police Sgt. Daron Wyatt said.
In this incident, the man was dressed in all black, including a hoodie, and wearing an orange construction vest.
He's seen on surveillance footage approaching the cashier, then producing a silver handgun as he demands money.
“At that point he takes the entire cash drawer and flees in a vehicle,” Wyatt said. The sergeant described that car as a green Mercedes-Benz SUV from the early 2000s with paper plates.
The man then apparently drove about a mile and a half to Vandy Dounts at 1007 N. Euclid St., which was open for business with customers inside.
The suspect approached the cashier the same way, still wearing the orange vest.
“That’s what’s unusual," Wyatt said of the construction attire. "However, at that time of the morning it could be used as a disguise, so he looks like somebody on their way to work on a construction job who’s going to get a donut before work, not to attract attention.”
Wyatt said in both cases, the man dangerously positioned his finger on his firearm's trigger.
"It doesn’t take much — that gun could go off and somebody could be hurt, killed," he said. "Now you’re not just talking about a robbery case, you’re talking about a potential homicide.”
Because both Anaheim locations hit were within half a mile of the 5 Freeway, detectives are looking into whether the robber came in from out of town.
He seems to be working alone, Wyatt said, and there was no getaway driver.
Police describe the man as black with a small goatee and said he appears to be in his mid- to late 40s.