MEQUON -- Mequon police said Tuesday, November 28th a suspect has been taken into custody after an armed robbery at the BP gas station in Mequon Sunday night. Police are investigating whether the suspect, 27-year-old Raymond Allan Hartel, is responsible for a second armed robbery at a Mequon gas station less than 10 days prior, and "numerous armed robberies throughout the Milwaukee area." Meanwhile, police in Germantown believe he's one of two suspects who robbed a vape store there, after a robbery at a cigarette outlet in West Bend the same day.
Mequon police on Monday issued a news release asking for help locating the 27-year-old man called a "person of interest" in the BP gas station case -- believed to be operating a black, 2016 Chevy Sonic.
Police said Tuesday a suspect was arrested in Milwaukee on November 27th (on unrelated charges), and Mequon PD is now following up on the gas station robberies. They're working with Germantown police and other law enforcement agencies as well.
Police released surveillance photos and video after the BP gas station robbery Sunday night. Police said it happened around 9:30 p.m., and a single suspect entered the gas station and threatened the attendant on duty with a handgun -- before fleeing with an undisclosed amount of money.
The other Mequon gas station robbery took place on November 17th.
Meanwhile, Germantown police say the Mequon suspect is believed responsible for the November 18th armed robbery at the GT Vapor store on Mequon Road. Germantown police said the Mequon suspect was identified as a suspect in the GT Vapor robbery prior to his arrest, and an arrest warrant was issued for him out of Germantown.
According to police, around 3:15 p.m. on the 18th, two suspects, one armed with a black handgun, entered the store, confronted a store employee, and took property by force.
A worker frantically called police after the robbery.
"I just got hit in the head with a (expletive) gun!" the worker said.
The suspects fled the area in a 2009-2014 Chevy Aveo with minor damage to the front of the car, with an unknown license plate number. As the suspects were fleeing the area, a Germantown officer attempted to use a tire deflation device on the suspect’s vehicle. The suspects aimed their vehicle towards the officer -- almost striking him. The officer was not injured.
A vehicle pursuit occurred, but was later terminated by Germantown officers because of the high speeds -- and the pursuing officer lost sight of the vehicle.
Police say the suspects stopped at a gas station nearby before the robbery -- which is where the below surveillance pictures were captured.
Work is still ongoing to identify the second suspect wanted for the GT Vapor robbery.
Police said before the GT Vapor robbery, the two suspects targeted the Cigarette Outlet store in West Bend. That robbery also happened on the 18th, and the suspects struggled to take everything they wanted.
"I've been the manager here 15 years and I've never been scared. Literally, never been scared. Now, I don't know," manager Janine Paczelt said.
Ashley Peters, a cashier held at gunpoint, was happy to learn of an arrest in the case.
"Even coming to work, I felt a huge relief," she said. "The guy that they got was the scary, scary guy."
Surveillance video shows one man entered the store on the 18th around 2:15 p.m. and talked to the cashier.
"He said...if we had Newports here. I'm like 'yeah, we have Newports here,'" Peters said.
Then a second man stormed in with his hood up and gun out. He demanded money.
"Gun out right away. Stood here by the counter and pointed the gun over the counter -- said 'give me all the money,'" Peters said.
Shaking and in tears, Peters struggled to open the register. The man with his face covered went to the back of the store, as the other suspect left with a stand full of lighters.
"He just grabbed them all. He drops them all over the ground. Then they are both 'doo da doo,' trying to pick up all these cartons of cigarettes," Peters said.
Peters said the man now in custody is the man who had the gun.
"Oh yeah, that is definitely the guy with the gun. I mean, even the way he was moving his hands with the gun when he was yelling -- the exact same thing he did standing in front of me," Peters said.