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SALT LAKE CITY — Police officers are investigating whether three crimes committed early Wednesday morning are connected, as they search for two men and look to question a third, officials confirmed.
At about 12:30 a.m., three masked men robbed a 7-Eleven located at 535 E. 1700 South, according to Salt Lake Police detective Robert Ungricht. Two of the men carried handguns and the third had a shotgun.
Police said the men all wore dark shirts, gloves and drove away in a dark-colored vehicle. Police did not say how much money was taken or if anyone was injured.
Later in the morning, at about 1:15 a.m., two men were shot near 700 North and Redwood Road. Police said the first victim ran into a Maverik convenience store and collapsed on the ground after being “struck in the arm with several BBs from a shotgun blast.” The man was uncooperative with officers at the scene and was taken to a hospital in stable condition. Police will attempt to question him again, Ungricht said.
The second victim walked out of a nearby McDonald’s, 1665 W. 700 North, where he works, when he heard the first gunshot. He was also “shot in the arm from a BB from a second shotgun blast,” police confirmed.
The shooter fled the scene in an unknown vehicle. Police did not provide a description of the assailant.
Shortly after, at about 1:45 a.m., two men armed with a shotgun attempted to rob a Maverik at 1927 S. 3200 West. When the men didn’t see the clerk, who was in the back room at the time, they left the store without any money, police said. The men confronted a witness who saw them leaving the store and threatened to shoot him, Ungricht said.
The assailants got into a red sedan that was waiting nearby. Police said the men were wearing masks and dark-colored clothing.
“A lot of these robberies are involving weapons and they are very dangerous,” Ungricht said. “We haven’t been able to determine if any of these cases are related. There are certainly some similarities between some of them.”
On Monday, four robberies occurred overnight across the county, from Millcreek to West Valley City. Police took a 15-year-old into custody in those cases, but are still looking for two more teens involved.
“It’s a big concern for us,” Ungricth said. “Something we want to try to solve as quickly as possible. We certainly don’t want to see these escalate to more people getting shot or killed.”
Officials remind the public to be alert about their safety when they’re in public. Anyone with information on these incidents is asked to contact the Salt Lake Police Department at 801-799-3000.
Contributing: Yvette Cruz