DICKSON CITY — Police in one municipality in Lackawanna County have two unsolved armed robberies on their hands. In both cases the robber held clerks at gunpoint and demanded cash.
Dickson City police are looking for two men, one who held up Johnnie’s service center and gas station on Main Street around 10 p.m. Monday, and another who robbed a McDonald’s restaurant in the borough just as it was opening Wednesday morning.
John Valtos has been in business in Dickson City for almost 50 years, and experienced all the ups and downs a business owner can in that time. He’s been burglarized two dozen times but, never had a robber pull out a gun until this week.
“No one was hurt, money isn’t everything. These kids, they have their whole life ahead of them,” Valtos said.
According to police two employees were working Monday night when a man in a mask barged into the office and robbed them of $900. What’s most disheartening for Valtos is that he isn’t alone.
A little more than 24 hours later, McDonald’s restaurant on Business Route 6 was robbed at gunpoint just as employees were opening the doors for the day.
Dickson City police say armed robberies here are rare so, when two happen so close together it’s natural for police to treat the cases as connected. But, police say this time they knew instantly that they weren’t.
Police spotted the robber in surveillance video outside McDonald’s wearing clothes meant to draw attention: a reflective vest, a hard hat, and a fake moustache. In video from the day before, the robber can be seen casing the place, then walking across the street to rob the restaurant the next morning.
The man who held up john Valtos’ business didn’t match the unique description of the McDonald’s robber.
“Anybody in business, when you have those doors open, anybody can walk in. And if you’re closed and they want something you have, whether it’s money or some other item in your place, they’re going to come and get it,” Valtos added.
Valtos hopes the wave of robberies has come to an end for now, but still he’s taking precautions to keep his employees safe.
Dickson City police say they have some leads in both of the robbery cases. If anyone has information about the McDonald’s robber in the reflective garb, they’re asked to call 911.
Dickson City police posted this security camera video on their Facebook page.