Randy Clapp, owner-manager of Lolita's Market, was outside his 24-hour neighborhood grocery Thursday afternoon with a second man as they scrutinized the downtown property's exterior.

That was about the only hint that it wasn't business as usual one day after Lolita's, 800 Pearl St., was targeted by an armed robber about 3:53 p.m. on Christmas Day. Inside, a large monitor facing the cashier's position afforded five different views tracked by surveillance cameras.

Boulder police have posted on the department's website videos that show that the robber on Wednesday was captured on camera from at least three perspectives.

Clapp declined to comment about Wednesday's incident, in which a cashier in an advanced state of pregnancy was confronted by a suspect who flashed a semi-automatic handgun tucked in his waistband and took an undisclosed amount of cash.

Police seek tips

Anyone with information about any of the recent armed robberies in Boulder is asked to contact Detective Kurt Foster at 303-441-4329.

Those who have information but wish to remain anonymous may contact the Northern Colorado Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or 1-800-444-3776. Tips can also be submitted through the Crime Stoppers website at crimeshurt.com.

Those submitting tips through Crime Stoppers that lead to the arrest and filing of charges on a suspect(s) may be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000 from Crime Stoppers.

It was the second time Lolita's has been victimized in recent weeks, the first coming close to 11 p.m., Dec. 9, when two suspects in tightly-hooded sweatshirts confronted a clerk and made off with cash and cigarettes. Their ethnicity could not be determined.

The second Lolita's heist came close on the heels of the robberies of pair of sandwich shops: Quiznos, 1606 Conestoga St., on Dec. 18 and Subway, 2539 Arapahoe Ave., on Dec. 20.

Boulder detectives are probing the question of whether the crimes are connected.

"It's always a possibility, but at this point we need more investigation, before we can say with any certainty whether all of these aggravated robberies are related," department spokeswoman Kim Kobel said. "It is a possibility we are looking into."

Kobel added, "We are upping patrols in the areas these robberies have occurred. We're asking people to be extra alert, and we are on high alert as well, knowing these types of robberies tend to be on an upswing in December."

She pointed out that the Lolita's robbery on Christmas came at a time when it was one of few such stores in the city that was open for business.

'Didn't seem like he knew what he was doing'

At the Subway on Thursday afternoon, the manager on duty -- who also was working the day that shop was robbed -- had not yet heard of either Lolita's incident. She therefore had no idea whether there might be a connection between those cases, and the robbery of her own store earlier in the month.

The Subway manager, who asked that her name not be published, said the experience of being robbed recently had been scary.

But, she added, "I don't think it was the same guy as Quiznos, based on what the police are telling me."

She pointed out that the robber who confronted her was a white male, about 5-foot-6 to 5-foot-7 inches tall, while the Quiznos robber was described as a Hispanic or Indian male, 5-feet-9 to 6 feet in height.

Describing the robber at Subway, the manager said, "He didn't seem like he knew what he was doing. It was like it was just random. It didn't look like it was planned. He was kind of shaking, and acting like he didn't know what he was going to do next."

Footage from a surveillance at Lolita s Market in Boulder shows the Christmas Day robbery taking place.
Footage from a surveillance at Lolita s Market in Boulder shows the Christmas Day robbery taking place.

In both sandwich shop robberies, the suspect wore a white cloth or towel to cover his face, and no gun was visible.

In Wednesday's second robbery of Lolita's, initial police scanner reports described the suspect, who had a gun tucked in his waistband, as a white male wearing a white bandana and sunglasses.

New description of suspect

But on Thursday, the department issued a far more detailed description. He was reported to be a Hispanic male, with black, curly hair covered by a white "do-rag," with hair to his jaw line.

The suspect was 5-foot-8 to 5-foot-10 inches tall, weighing 160 pounds and about 27 to 35 years old. He was wearing a black shirt with red, horizontal pinstripes that came to his thighs, baggy blue jeans and dark, Ray-Ban style sunglasses.

The clerk working the counter told police the suspect entered Lolita's and went to the back of the store before approaching the counter, where he demanded money from the cash register. The clerk said the suspect lifted up his shirt to show a semi-automatic handgun tucked into the waistband of his pants. He never aimed it at the clerk.

On a video posted to the department's website, the suspect is seen leaning across the counter and grabbing money from the register drawers.

The suspect left and walked eastbound on Pearl St. K-9 units from the Boulder County Sheriff's Office assisted in the search for the suspect, who remains at large.

Contact Camera Staff Writer Charlie Brennan at 303-473-1327, brennanc@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/chasbrennan