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Robbery suspect let fingertips do talking

Robbers who swiped cash and jewelry from a Phoenix market last week apparently tried to delay a call to police by hiding the store's cordless phone.

But instead, they left police a clue ' fingerprints ' said Phoenix police Chief Bob Kershaw.

When three Hispanic men robbed La Tapatia, a market at 125 S. Main St. that sells Mexican food, leather goods, jewelry and a melange of other items, police and the store's owners initially thought the robbers took the store's cordless phone, Kershaw said.

The next day, the store's owners pushed a locating button on the phone's base, which was still connected to the wall, to make the cordless receiver ring. They found the handset stashed in the store, he said.

Police collected the phone and were able to lift fingerprints from it. The prints will be sent to a state crime lab for analysis to see if they match known criminals, Kershaw said.

Police also are working to capture clear images of the robbers from the store's surveillance tape, he said. He plans to release those photos to the public soon, he said.

Grainy photos captured from the videotape last week wouldn't reproduce clearly in the Mail Tribune. The fuzzy images shown by local television stations netted only one tip that didn't pan out, Kershaw said.

During the Feb. 6 robbery, three men, two of whom had guns, took about &

36;50,000 worth of cash and jewelry from La Tapatia and herded workers and customers into the shop's bathroom. The robbers walked down the street and disappeared into the darkness. Police are still seeking the suspects.

Anyone with information about the robbery can call Phoenix police at 535-1113.