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Durham Motels Targeted in Rash of Robberies

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DURHAM — Armed robbers are barging into hotels inDurham. Many hotel employees are worried about where the suspects might strike next. The suspects targeted desk clerks in most of the robberies, but at the Red Roof Inn, three guests were held up in the parking lot. -->

The thieves have hit eight hotels since early January, including the Red Roof Inn on Highway 55 and two La Quinta locations.

"They usually only have one person working in the middle of the night," says Lt. Ed Sarvis of theDurham Police Department. "If only one person is working, there isn't much they can do against two people."

Most of the robberies happened at night. The suspects either showed or threatened to have a gun.

David Fields manages a Durham motel that has been robbed twice in years past. Now security cameras record every move on the property.

"We have video cameras that surveil the property," Fields says. "We have video cameras in the lobby from two or three different angles which gives us a view of people coming in and out of the lobby."

Fields has warned his employees and has taught them what to look for and what to do if thieves strike.

"We keep our personnel aware that these things do happen, and we have procedures in case something does happen so their safety will be ensured," Fields says.

A clerk at the Holiday Inn on Guess Road foiled one robbery attempt. She saw two men putting on masks, and locked the door before they could get in. A camera at the Durham Regal Hotel captured two suspects on tape.

Police are not sure if all of the robberies are connected.

"We're taking each one and investigating individually," Sarvis says. "We don't want to focus on one or two people and discover that there are more than that."

The robbers are not getting away with much cash, because hotels do most of their business with credit cards. In several holdups, robbers only got away with about $20.


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