An unusual string of robberies rippled across Modesto on Tuesday night, apparently unrelated to one another but bearing traits of earlier heists, according to police.
The first armed robbery of the night occurred about 9:30 p.m. at Pacific Market in the 100 block of Colfax Avenue, Lt. Jolene Gonzales said. Two men wearing black ski masks confronted two people in the parking lot of the southeast Modesto market and hit one victim on the nose with a gun.
The robbers then dragged the two people from their car and into the store. They forced the clerk and customers to the floor while they robbed the store and the people, kicking one person in the face before leaving. The robbers are described as two black men, both about 5 feet 8 inches tall and 200 pounds.
About 30 minutes later, two men wearing hoods entered Maria's Taco Shop in the 2000 block of West Orangeburg Avenue with guns and reportedly stole a cash register -- a move common in robberies earlier this year in Modesto, Gonzales said.
Both men were described as black; one 19 or 20 years old and possibly with dreadlocks, the other 18 years old wearing a dark shirt with a gold design and jeans with designs on the back and on the front pocket.
Meanwhile, two white men wearing ski masks entered Mountain Mike's Pizza in the 2700 block of McHenry Avenue at 10:08 p.m. and took money from the register, Gonzales said.
They were wearing dark clothing and gloves and matched the description of two men involved in other robberies and in an attempt at a Carl's Jr. about 11 p.m. Monday.
That heist failed because in preparation for closing and knowing it is a common time to be robbed, employees had locked the door, police said. The descriptions also fit other robberies reported during the past few weeks, Gonzales said.
Bee staff writer Inga Miller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2324.