Same man might have hit three inns

Robberies at Red Roof, University inns follow an attempt at the Siena Hotel

Staff WriterJanuary 23, 2008 

— Police say an armed robber demanded cash at the Siena Hotel early Tuesday morning and may have left there to rob the Red Roof Inn and the University Inn in Durham.

The Siena on East Franklin Street is about two miles from the Red Roof Inn on U.S. 15-501. The University Inn on Elf Street is another six miles northeast from there.

Chapel Hill Police Capt. Chris Blue said an intruder entered the Siena Hotel just after midnight, brandished a black semi-automatic handgun and demanded cash. A clerk told him the hotel keeps no cash on hand and locked himself in an office.

The intruder left the hotel, and a police K-9 unit later tried to track him without success.

The clerk described him as a black man, at least 6 feet tall, about 180 pounds and wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt and black coat. Other identifying characteristics, such as hair color and style and skin tone, were not available. Police plan to examine a security video to get a more complete description.

A clerk at the Red Roof Inn told police that 30 minutes later an older, gray-haired, black man in a gray hooded sweatshirt threw a piece of wood through a locked glass door and stole cash from the office.

A half-hour later, a tall, thin black man wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt and a black jacket robbed the University Inn, Durham Police spokeswoman Kammie Michael said.

Blue could not say whether the same person committed all the crimes. "We will keep our minds open about the possibility that they are related," he said.

jesse.deconto@newsobserver.com or (919) 932-8760

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