Iowa City police look for suspect in late-night armed robberies

Video: UI students react to Hawk Alert

Iowa City police are looking for a man who they believe robbed two people at gunpoint late Tuesday in Black’s Gaslight Village.

Officers were called about an armed person at 11:33 p.m. at the village at 422 Brown St., according to Iowa City police. They were informed that two separate people reported being robbed within minutes of each other at separate locations in the same area.

Both victims said a male approached them, displayed a black handgun, and pointed it directly at them before demanding their purses, according to a news release. One victim ran into a home and got away from the suspect, but the other person gave the suspect her purse, according to police.

The man then ran away east on Brown Street, police reported.

Officers flooded the area, but they were unable to immediately locate the suspect. They believe one person committed both armed robberies, according to police.

An undisclosed amount of property and money was taken during the robberies, but no one was hurt, police reported.

The victims and witnesses described the suspect as a thin black male, about 5 feet 10 inches to 6 feet tall, in his 20s to 30s. He was wearing a dark blue or black hooded sweatshirt with white writing on it, dark pants and dark shoes with white edges, according to police.

The suspect also had a red bandana covering his face during the robbery.

The University of Iowa overnight sent out a Hawk Alert to notify students that there was a report of an armed robbery, with the suspect walking towards Van Buren Street with a bandana over his face.

Just last week, Iowa City police arrested three suspects in connection with a separate armed robbery in a residence at 409 South Dodge St. In that case, three men entered the home and one pulled out a handgun, according to police. He pointed it directly at two separate victims and demanded they put their laptop computers into a backpack.

All the suspects fled the area, but police caught up with them a short time later and arrested them on suspicion of a handful of charges, including first-degree robbery. They also arrested their getaway driver, according to police.

Iowa City police Sgt. Denise Brotherton said officers have been seeing more robberies, armed and unarmed this year. She believes the increase, in part, is due to the fact that more people are carrying expensive items with them -- like iPhones, iPads and laptops. She said stolen credit cards also are now easier to use because, at many locations, clerks don't even see the card.

Anyone with information about Tuesday's armed robberies can call CrimeStoppers at 319-358-8477.

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