CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Cedar Rapids Police said six armed robbery calls in the space of four hours, twenty minutes may set a dubious record of sorts. Rayshawn Cribbs, 24, now faces five counts of first-degree robbery. He's being held in the Linn County Jail.
The first robbery report came in at 2:30 a.m. Monday morning at the Casey's, 3349 Mt. Vernon Road Southeast. That was followed in quick succession by robberies at the Hometown Inn and Suites at 3315 Southgate Court Southwest, Casey's at 20 Miller Ave. S.W., Casey's at 3625 Edgewood Rd. S.W., Kum and Go 2504 16th Ave. S.W. and finally the Kwik Shop at 2504 Center Point Rd. N.E. The last robbery, just before 7 a.m., was the final one in the apparent string as police subdued Cribbs with a Taser device after a short chase.
Police said the descriptions for all the robberies are similar. In all but one case, the motel robbery, the suspect displayed a handgun. At this time, Cribbs is not charged with the motel robbery.
The string of six ended when a suspect in the final robbery ran across Center Point Road in front of a marked Cedar Rapids patrol car. But police said they also got an unexpected assist in the chase when two motorists used their vehicles to block the suspect's path as he ran through a parking lot.
Mark Heald was one of the two people who gave police an assist. Heald said he had just dropped his wife off to work and was driving by when he saw the suspect fleeing and police giving chase on foot. He and another driver had the same idea at the same timeblock the suspect's path so police could catch up.
"I saw the officer running after him so I figured he had a good head start. I figured I could at least help outslow him down and allow the officer to get him. I looked again (after the suspect passed) and they got him down on the ground," Heald said.
Police said while a suspect took cash in the other robberies, what he grabbed at the Kwik Shop on Center Point Road was small liquor bottles. When he saw police, he tossed the bottles and then the handgun away as he ran. One waitress at Riley's Café, 4242 Center Point Rd. NE., was watching all the action outside. Shannon O'Shaughnessy said she saw something hit the side of the restaurant and learned later it was the gun.
"A customer thought it was gloves and when I looked out the door to see where the officer parked his car, it was a pistol lying on the ground," O'Shaughnessy said.
Heald said he didn't know the suspect was armed. But he said that wouldn't have changed his decision to help out. "Not really. I'm a war veteran so I've seen enough stuff in my lifetime to react to something like that. I just thought they could use my help and I helped them out," he said.