Thieves strike two Racine businesses within minutes

RACINE (WITI) -- Thieves with guns and wearing masks held up two separate businesses in Racine -- just 15 minutes apart. It all happened late on Thursday, January 9th.

Around 7:30 p.m. Thursday, clerks and a customer at Colonial Liquors on Taylor Ave. were blindsided by two masked men wearing dark-colored coats.

The first man entered with his gun drawn -- pointing at the men behind and in front of the counter. Meanwhile, his accomplice emptied the cash register and the pockets of one of the individuals inside before the two took off.

"We know they fled the liquor store on Taylor Avenue eastbound toward West Blvd. and believed to have gotten in a vehicle there," said Sgt. Jessie Metoyer.

About 15 minutes earlier, another robbery with similarly dressed suspects was attempted at Belle City Food Market and Laundromat on 16th St. But because of the precautions employees take there, the crooks were unsuccessful.

After being hit by robbers back in November and December, employees decided to manually let each customer in and out after dusk.

"We have a limited number of employees here. So keeping the doors locked is just a precaution to keep them safe and just so no one can enter without consent," said Ron Harper Jr. of Belle City Food Market and Laundromat.

Just seconds after a customer left and the door was locked, masked men were seen scurrying along the side of the building.

Racine police are trying to identify the suspects. They're asking if anyone who lives in the neighborhood where these crimes occurred happens to have home surveillance systems, please check them. You may have caught something on video that police could use.