Police make arrest in fast-food robberies
Medford police have arrested a Phoenix man suspected of robbing a Medford Burger King on Tuesday night, as well as hitting a Jack in the Box in Phoenix and attempting a robbery at a Taco Bell in White City recently.
Investigators took Alec Thomas Giese, 19, of the 200 block of Jared Court, Phoenix, into custody Wednesday morning and charged him with three counts of second-degree robbery, police said. He also faces two second-degree theft charges related to purse snatchings reported in Medford.
Employees at the Burger King at 1055 S. Riverside Ave., Medford reported a robbery at 9:50 p.m. Tuesday, Medford police Lt. Tim Doney said. They told police that a man came into the restaurant, stayed about 10 minutes, then left. He returned moments later, gave a note demanding money to the clerk at the counter and placed a gun on the counter.
The worker handed over an undisclosed amount of cash and the robber fled west on Barnett Road.
Police searched the area and found clothing and a toy gun in bushes along Barnett Road that they believe were linked to the robbery, Doney said. As investigators interviewed witnesses after the robbery, they got details about a champagne- or silver-colored Saturn sedan seen in the area and the robber's identity.
A patrol officer spotted the car in the 900 block of Olympic Avenue, Medford, Wednesday morning and police set up surveillance around it. Just before 10 a.m., Giese approached the vehicle and was taken into custody, Doney said.
Investigators from Phoenix and the Jackson County Sheriff's Office joined in interviews at the Medford police station.
"All the detectives around the county were aware of the increase in fast-food robberies recently, so we let them know when we had a suspect," Doney said. "This valley is still small enough that when we get a spree of similar crimes, we're always entertaining the idea that they could be related. This is still kind of a one-horse town."
Investigators linked Giese to the robbery of the Phoenix Jack in the Box, which was reported at about 8 p.m. Nov. 10. The robber demanded cash and kept his hand in his pocket in a way that suggested he had a gun, police said. He fled with an undisclosed amount of cash, disappearing into a neighborhood of homes and apartment complexes along Cheryl Street.
He also was charged in the Nov. 13 attempted robbery of a Taco Bell in White City. There, a robber demanded money from an employee just before 10 p.m., but the clerk couldn't open the till and the man fled, Sheriff Mike Winters said earlier.
Doney said Giese was charged with second-degree robbery in the three fast-food restaurant hold-ups because he didn't use a real weapon. However, the weapon shown Tuesday was realistic enough to frighten the victim, he said.
Giese was lodged in the Jackson County Jail, where he remained Wednesday night on more than $3 million bail.
Reach reporter Anita Burke at 776-4485 or at email@example.com