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Durham 911 calls report similarities in bomb threats

Durham investigators are trying to figure out if two robberies and bomb threats at Durham businesses this week are related.

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DURHAM, N.C. — A man suspected of robbing a Durham pawn shop and making a bomb threat there on Tuesday reportedly told employees that he had cancer and needed $2,500 to make his house payment or he and his family would be out on the street.
If he didn’t get the money, the robber said, he’d detonate the bomb with his cell phone, an employee at Friendly Jewelry and Pawn says in a 911 call that Durham police released Wednesday.

“It’s in a green duffle bag. It’s unzipped on top. … and on the inside, it looked like stuff was wrapped in duct tape, silver duct tape,” the caller says. “He said he had armed it and that it would go off in 10 minutes unless I gave him the money. And then he asked to take my car.”

The suspect was wearing a doctor’s mask and took off in a white Saturn Vue.

The threat shut down streets around the store, at 2731 Chapel Hill Blvd., for several hours before investigators were able to determine the object was not an explosive device.

Investigators are now looking for the suspect and at whether the same man could be responsible for a robbery at the Fast Food Mart, at 2947 Chapel Hill Road in Durham on Sunday night.

In that case, according to a 911 call police also released Wednesday, the robber had a black bag, said he had a bomb and would blow the store up if he didn’t get money.

Surveillance video from the Fast Food Mart showed the suspect entering the store, taking off a glove and throwing it away before approaching the clerk.

The clerk said the man also told him that he could activate the bomb with his phone if he did not cooperate.

The surveillance system also appears to have captured the suspect after he took off his jacket and walked behind the building.

The store clerk said police found some of the clothing the suspect had been wearing.

In both cases, the robber was tall, white and had a large build, according to the 911 calls. In the pawn shop case, he had a shaved head and was also wearing glasses.

Anyone with information about either case is asked to call the Durham Police Department at 919-560-4583 or Crime Stoppers at 919-683-1200.

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Erin Hartness, Reporter
Pete James, Photographer
Kelly Gardner, Web Editor

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