CSPD: Hotel Robberies Likely Connected

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Three strikes, and a College Station armed robber is still out. Authorities are continuing their search for a six-foot tall black male, a man who has masked himself while taking money from hotels.

The big question on the minds of hotel officials is, "Why us?"

For Blake Williams, a seat at the front desk of hotels has never concerned him, although there is a bit of pause with the current string of armed robberies.

"You think about it," Williams said. "When people walk in, you think, 'Is this the guy?' It's always in the back of your mind, but it's not enough to not make you come to work, obviously."

And in the mind of Ron Fulton, manager of the Amerisuites and head of the local Hotel-Motel Association, surveillance technology is going to become more prominent.

"With the three [robberies] now, you're going to see, probably, everybody have one in the next month or so," Fulton said. "I know the Hawthorn put theirs in after that. Homewood's putting theirs in after the fact."

College Station authorities are investigating the very real possibility that the three armed robberies in eight weeks were committed by the same person, their face masked each time, a handgun in hand at an 'H' hotel each time.

On July 4, the Hawthorn Suites was robbed, followed by the Homewood Suites just down University Drive on July 21. The Hampton Inn on Texas Avenue was the third hotel hit this past Saturday.

"Especially when you have someone targeting your industry, you're like, 'OK, what can we do," said Fulton.

Fulton says it's been quite awhile since he's seen anything like this in Bryan, College Station, or anywhere for that matter, and with good reason. It's the same reason that has College Station authorities puzzled: the fact that despite the hotel industry being a big money business, there's not a lot of money to be had in the buildings themselves.

Most hotels keep less than a couple hundred bucks, just change," said Williams. "Most everything's done in reservations, so when they call in, we get their credit card number and go straight from there, so we really don't see money at all."

"That's why I can't figure this guy out, if it's the same one," Fulton said. "Is he just desperate for any amount of money he can get?"

But for now, the chains are ever vigilant for people not wanting one of their rooms.

According to authorities, a robbery at a miniature golf course back on August 12 may also be connected to the hotel robberies.

Call College Station police if you have any information on these crimes.