MADISON, Wis. - Two minutes is all it took to rob Market Basket on East Mifflin Street, leaving store worker Carl Stewart no time to process what was really happening.
"I just sort of went into autopilot, kept my distance from him, didn't face my back to him too much at all. I went straight to the door and gave him the money," said Stewart, who was working during the time of the robbery.
The incident happened on the 300 block of East Mifflin Street around 11:51 a.m. Thursday.
The robber, described as around 6 feet tall and 200 pounds, escaped with an unknown amount of money through a back alleyway behind the store.
This is the fourth robbery in the city of Madison in three weeks. Madison police spokesman Joel DeSpain said it's possible the suspects in the recent crime spree could be connected.
"It could be one, two, maybe three individuals that could really jack those numbers up, and we have a sense that may be what has been taking place in the last few weeks," DeSpain said. "If we can identify and arrest just a couple of people, hopefully we will put an end to the recent armed robbery spree that we have seen in the past couple of weeks."
Toppers Pizza, Burrito Drive and Players Sports bar are also recent robbery victims. All three businesses were robbed at gunpoint. In each case, the suspects also used a mace-like spray as an alternative weapon.
"We've been in business 25 years, and in 25 years, I think you can count on one hand the amount of police calls that we have had. This is the type of neighborhood where things like this don't happen. I think people feel you can walk around this neighborhood at night and not have worry about someone walking around with a gun," said Players bar owner Mark Kroon.
Kroon's security camera caught the whole robbery on tape. In each robbery victims have not been seriously harmed, however with multiple robberies happening all over the city, Kroon said he fears if the suspects are not caught next time, they could use more than just mace.
"I don't think this is an east side, north side, west side problem; this is a city problem," Kroon said. "I hope they get caught before somebody gets hurt."
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call Madison police.
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