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Unified police seek help identifying suspect in spree of armed robberies

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Posted at 6:49 PM, Jan 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-29 20:49:03-05

NORTHERN UTAH – An unidentified robber is committing increasingly serious crimes, and detectives from two agencies say they need to stop the escalation.

Police say the suspect rang in the New Year with a pair of robberies, one on New Year’s Day at Jamba Juice, and another crime one week later.

Police are now hoping to get him off the street before he strikes again and before someone gets hurt. Lt. Lex Bell, Unified Police Department, said he has been around long enough to know one thing about serial robbers.

“They tend to keep going until something else happens,” Bell said.

That means they either get caught by police, or worse, which is why they want to locate this guy as soon as possible. The man has now been identified as the same suspect in the robberies at a Jamba Juice in Brickyard Plaza on New Year’s Day and at a bank in Midvale a week later.

"Often times if you're dealing with a serial robber and they're accelerating from Jamba Juice to a bank in a week's span, that's not a good sign, and that's what did happen in this case," Bell said.

In both cases the man was pretty well covered up, and police initially did not know the crimes were connected. But they got a break when a UPD Detective assigned to the FBI Violent Crimes Task Force was going over security pictures and spotted something.

“Just on a hunch, and actually did locate the suspect in the bank the day before and not wearing his mask, it looks like he was in there scouting it out,” Bell said.

Police then linked the man to the Jamba Juice robbery. Bell said he doesn't yet know for sure, but he said he suspects a drug addiction may be driving this person, and he says the best thing for them to do is surrender and get help.

“We'll catch you, that's what we do, and we're very good at it,” Bell said. “We're trying to help them, and that's definitely something judges and correctional facilities are looking at is trying to get people help and solve this problem rather than keep continually incarcerating them and letting them back out to do the same thing."

The suspect is described as being a male who stands 5-feet 9-inches tall who has blue eyes, a slight build and a prominent nose.

The suspect is also sought in connection with two other robberies, one at a Starbucks in Salt Lake City and another at a State Farm Insurance office. Police said in all cases the man displayed a weapon.

Anyone who recognizes the man or who has information about the robberies should call police at 385-468-9814.