COEUR d'ALENE - The Coeur d'Alene Police Department is investigating a pair of robberies pulled off by an armed suspect with an apparent taste for nicotine late Monday night and early Tuesday morning.
In both business thefts, witnesses described the culprit as a slender white male who wore a white billed hat with a black hoodie pulled over it and blue jeans. In both cases, the suspect inquired about cigarettes from store employees before making off with either stolen cash or smokes.
In the first report, a female clerk at the Tesoro service station, 2301 Sherman Ave., told officers that the male suspect had come into the store around 11:30 p.m., approximately a half an hour before the actual stickup, to ask about cigarettes.
The clerk told the suspect the price of the cigarettes and the suspect - described as standing 5-feet, 6-inches tall with hair stubble on the side of his face and "very blue eyes," - left the store, saying he would have to come back to buy them.
According to a police report the suspect came back a short time later, and wandered around the store until all customers left, then displayed a handgun tucked into his waistband to the cashier.
He demanded money from the till, to which the clerk complied and gave him an undisclosed amount of cash, according to a police report. The male then fled the store on foot.
About 15 minutes later, around 1:15 a.m., a similarly-described male robbed a Walgreens store, about three miles away, at 335 W. Appleway Ave.
The female clerk on duty reported the male came into the store and was standing at the counter. When the employee came to the cash register, the male lifted his shirt and displayed a handgun in his waistband.
He demanded money from the till, but the employee told the robber she was not able to give it to him, according to the report. Instead, the suspect took some cigarettes from the counter and fled the store on foot.
Surveillance video shows the suspect, described as standing 5-feet, 8-10 inches tall, got into a dark-colored vehicle that was waiting outside. The vehicle drove east through the parking lot before leaving the area.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Coeur d'Alene Police Department at 769-2320.