Armed robberies have Portland bartenders, business owners on edg - KPTV - FOX 12

Armed robberies have Portland bartenders, business owners on edge

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A surveillance image showing the suspect who robbed Andy's Bar Thursday night. A surveillance image showing the suspect who robbed Andy's Bar Thursday night.
Another surveillance image showing the suspect who robbed Andy's Bar Thursday night. Another surveillance image showing the suspect who robbed Andy's Bar Thursday night.
Surveillance image of armed robber at Andy's Bar in SE Portland. Surveillance image of armed robber at Andy's Bar in SE Portland.
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Portland police are investigating a string of armed robberies that have been committed in a matter of days at bars, restaurants, convenience stores and even a florist.

Dawn Fowler is one of the bartenders in southeast Portland who was held up at gunpoint.

“It’s very scary. Everybody in the bar was pretty upset, I was pretty shaken up,” Fowler told FOX 12. “It scared me to death, I’ve never had a gun pointed at me.”

Last Thursday, she was working at Andy’s Bar on Southeast 79th and Foster, when a man wearing a hoodie, gloves and a nylon stocking over his face calmly walked in about 7 p.m.

Surveillance video shows the man jump over the counter and point a gun at Fowler while customers try to hide. He takes money from the till, then grabs a bag of lottery money from the back.

He was in and out in less than a minute.

“He knew exactly what he wanted. My iPad was sitting out, tip jar, money laid out on the counter, change for customers, he didn’t touch any of that,” Fowler said. “I know some bartenders, they’re being, a gun held to their head, being told to empty the [lottery] machines.”

On Feb. 9, an armed robber hit Foster Garden, the bar just across the street from Andy’s. That one was in broad daylight, around noon.

The following day, police said a man with a gun robbed the Swan Mart on Southwest Barbur Boulevard, just after midnight.

On Feb. 13, the Escape Bar & Grill on Northeast 90th and Sandy Boulevard was targeted just before closing at 2:40 a.m.

A few hours later, the Key Bank on Southeast Woodstock was hit.

On Valentine’s Day, the Plaid Pantry on Northeast 141st and Sandy was robbed at gunpoint.

At 10 p.m. Feb. 15, a seemingly unusual target for a robber was hit: Mai Floral on Northeast 68th and Sandy.

The next day, employees at The Trap on Southeast 52nd and Foster say they were robbed at gunpoint, at around 1:15 a.m.

“We’re really nervous about what’s going on so we’re having customers staying with us at night and in the mornings just for protection," said Janice Koch-Lumpkin, the owner of another bar at Southeast 52nd and Bybee called Area 52.

Koch-Lumpkin says they’re one of the lucky establishments that has not been hit, but they’re upping security and taking precautions.

“Everybody’s on guard, and we’re all friends so everybody calls each other if they see something coming up,” she added.  “It’s scary. It’s not fair, it’s not right. It shouldn’t be that way.”

Portland Police Bureau detectives say they believe more than one suspect is involved, based on witnesses descriptions. Detectives continue to investigate if any of the robberies are connected. If you know anything that can help, call 503-823-5000.

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