Police trying to catch up in McDonald’s crime spree | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Police trying to catch up in McDonald’s crime spree

He’s not the Hamburglar, but this robber definitely has a fetish for McDonald’s.

The Golden Arches have been the target of 10 armed robberies around Northern California and Nevada since Nov. 27.

Investigators said the robber cuts a hole through the roof, waits for opening time, then drops down on the unsuspecting employees.

South Lake Tahoe police were on alert Wednesday afternoon after a hole, large enough to fit a person through, was found in the roof of the McDonald’s at the “Y.” The hole led to the attic area above the sub-ceiling. Officers quartered off the area and searched the building, but found nothing.

Placerville police officers caught the robber in the act on Christmas Eve. Employees at the Broadway restaurant called after hearing what sounded like pebbles dropping on the sub-ceiling around 5 a.m. When police arrived they spotted a white male about 6 feet tall, wearing dark clothing and a dark ski mask on top of the roof. The man ran to the edge, slid off the roof, and jumped a 6-foot fence separating the road from U.S. Highway 50. He made it across the highway’s four lanes and disappeared.

Investigators said they later found a discarded pair of pants, believed to be the robber’s, on the other side of the highway. A small bag of tools – containing drill bits and blades, and hack saws – was recovered from the roof.

More than two weeks later the robber surfaced again in Carson City. This time he wasn’t interrupted. On Jan. 10, a masked man surprised employees around 5 a.m., at the McDonald’s on Winnie Lane and North Carson Street. Armed with a handgun, the man gained entrance through the roof. He ordered the employees to lie on the floor while the manager was forced to open the safe.

Other restaurants hit in California include ones in: Folsom, Tracy, Lodi, Pleasanton, Vacaville and Sacramento. McDonald’s in Reno and Sparks were also targeted.

With U.S. Highway 50 being a clear route between several of the crime scenes, investigators in Douglas County and South Lake Tahoe said they are monitoring the situation. Larry Olsen, a South Lake Tahoe police detective, said their immediate concern was the restaurant at the “Y.”

“The one at Ski Run has metal sloped ceilings, which would be very hard for a robber to maneuver on, so we weren’t as concerned about that restaurant,” Olsen said.

The only McDonald’s in Douglas County is the one at the crossroads of U.S. Highway 395, and State Route 88, and investigators said there have been no attempts there.

Olsen said no one has been harmed, but the robber has fired his gun at fax machines and pay phones during three of the robberies. In the Sparks’ heist witnesses believed the robber may have run to a waiting vehicle. The amount of cash the robber has made off with has not been released. Investigators had no clear motive as to why the robber is targeting America’s largest restaurant chain.

Anyone with information is asked to call the South Lake Tahoe Police Department at (530) 542-6100, or the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department at (775) 586-7250.

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