This story and headline were updated at 10:50 a.m. on Feb. 22, 2021, to add information about a third robbery.
Three business owners who operate restaurants in Silver Spring, Takoma Park and Hyattsville were robbed in incidents that Montgomery County police said they think are related.
In the latest case, the owners of a Hyattsville restaurant were robbed at their home in Fairland on Thursday night, police said.
Police said that in each case, the owners were followed to their homes.
On Jan. 7, a woman who owns a takeout restaurant in Takoma Park got home just before 11 p.m. and was approached by three males, police said in a press release Thursday.
One of the males hit her on the head and took her purse, which had cash and keys. One of the males later pointed a handgun at a male witness and took his wallet.
The three males then fled, police said.
On Feb. 7, officers got a call at 11:03 p.m. for a report of a stolen vehicle near the victim’s restaurant in Takoma Park, police said. Police said they think her silver SUV was parked outside her restaurant, and the robbers used the keys they stole from her to take the vehicle.
On Feb. 16, a woman who owns a carryout restaurant in Silver Spring was rear-ended while she was driving in the 1800 block of Briggs Road just before 9 p.m.
When she got out of her vehicle, two males got out of the vehicle hit hers. One of the males threw her to the ground, police said.
One male pointed a handgun at the victim, and the other stole her purse from her vehicle, which had cash. The males then fled in a silver SUV.
Police said that the next day, the Takoma Park restaurant owner’s vehicle was recovered unoccupied near the area of the second robbery.
Police said in another press release Friday afternoon that the third robbery happened around 6 p.m. Thursday, when a man and woman who own a restaurant in Hyattsville were at their home in Fairland.
Police said two males got out of their car, approached the owners and demanded the woman’s purse. One of the robbers had a knife, police said.
Police said the robbers stole the woman’s purse, which contained the restaurant’s proceeds, and fled.
After the first two robberies, police spokeswoman Sgt. Rebecca Innocenti declined to identify the restaurants where the victims worked, so the owners are not identified.
Police are asking anyone with information to call them at 240-773-5070.
Police made the following suggestions for business owners to help prevent robberies:
- Remain alert and take note of suspicious people or vehicles, especially during opening and closing times
- Try to have two employees open and close the business
- Try to use the most visible entrance, and avoid back and secluded entrances
- Make bank deposits during the day
- Don’t carry cash out of the business or advertise that you are carrying a deposit
- If you feel like you are being followed or see someone suspicious, call police
- Avoid using the same route to get to and from work
Dan Schere can be reached at email@example.com