PHILADELPHIA - A crew is hitting convenience stores in the city, Montgomery, and Bucks counties. The suspects use a sledgehammer to bust open gaming machines to get cash out.
On Friday night, three men entered the food mart at a Broad Street gas station and headed straight for the gaming machines at the back. One guy pulled out a 3-foot long sledgehammer and smashed open three machines, leaving employees stunned.
City detectives say the so-called sledgehammer bandits have struck nearly three dozen times since last May. Each time they appear to carry out the smash and grab robberies with great precision, they grab the cash box and flee.
According to investigators, the degree of violence from these suspects appear to be escalating, recently they told a store employee they also had a gun.
The armed robberies have now spread beyond Philadelphia to the suburbs where it appears the same sledgehammer-toting robbery crew has struck at least twice in Bucks and Montgomery counties.
Sources say police from around the region are comparing surveillance videos of the various robberies. Detectives believe this crew uses different getaway vehicles to make their escape. So far, no store employees have been injured.
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