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Feb. 15, 2010

PHOENIX – It’s not often that you hear about armed robberies of Wal-Marts.

But Phoenix Police Sergeant Darren Burch said that it has happened a couple of times already this year.

Burch says the robberies start out as shoplifting, “but when the suspects are leaving the store, they’re confronted by security and they immediately either produce a weapon or actually point a handgun at the security guard, which turns it into an armed robbery.”

Burch says the first armed robbery occurred on January 5, 2010, at the Wal-Mart on Elliot Road in Tempe.

“The suspects had placed TV sets in grocery carts and then were taking them out of the store,” Burch said. “They were contacted by security and immediately one of them sprayed the security guard with Mace.”

The suspects took off in a new model white minivan.

“Two days later, the same two suspects enter a Wal-Mart in Mesa, this time on Baseline Road, and at that location they were putting stuff in a bag, just a regular Wal-Mart bag,” Burch said. “They’re leaving the store, they’re confronted, and this time they’ve escalated as far as their violence potential, because now they’ve pointed a handgun at the security guard.”

The men use the same getaway car, but something’s fishy about the license plate.

Burch said police got a license plate number that did not match the vehicle.

One suspect is white and the other is Hispanic. Both are described as about 30 years old with average builds.

If you have any information related to these cases, contact Silent Witness at: 480-WITNESS or 800-343-TIPS.