MACEDONIA, Ohio - Several police departments could be close to tracking down two men suspected of robbing four gas stations in four cities over a 36-hour period.
"We believe we know who both suspects are. We're just doing our due diligence and following up and trying to obtain search warrants," said Macedonia Detective Bryan Vince.
Surveillance video at two of the gas stations shows the men, wearing sunglasses, ball caps and hooded sweatshirts, pointing a gun at clerks and stealing money from registers.
The GP Express in Parma, a Speedway in Macedonia and Ohio Gas in Wickliffe were robbed over a nine-hour span on Monday.
A Sunoco gas station in Independence was robbed-- apparently by the same crooks-- early Wednesday morning. According to a police report, about $300 was taken.
In the Macedonia case, the clerk spoke briefly to NewsChannel5 over the phone on Wednesday and said she was terrified.
"Just knowing that you have a gun to your heart and it's point-blank range, it just makes your heart stop and puts life in a totally different perspective. I thought I was going to die that night," she said.
Police say the suspect's method of operation has been the same in each case. They acted as if they're going to make a purchase at the counter. Instead, a nine-millimeter semi-automatic handgun was pulled and shoved it into a clerk's chest after the register was opened.
They methodically grab the money from the register tray and then dump the cash into a pillow case or plastic bag. The getaway car has been described as a silver Mustang.
"They seem pretty comfortable with what they're doing. They're pretty deliberate in their actions. They're pretty quick. They don't seem overly nervous," said Wickliffe Lt. Pat Hengst.
Vince said a critical clue could be the yellow sweatshirt worn by one of the suspects with the word "Thiel" on it. Thiel is a small college in Pennsylvania.
"It definitely gave us a good lead," Vince said.
Vince said the men should be considered armed and dangerous. The police departments are working together hoping to track down the armed bandits before someone gets hurt.
"The first time you may have some nerves. It works one time. It works the second time. By the fourth time, you're Jesse James."