Rooftop robber is back

RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif. (AP) - A notorious robber who breaks in through the roof of fast-food restaurants is back after a two-month absence.

The rooftop robber cut a hole in the roof of a Rancho Cordova McDonald's restaurant Monday night and dropped in on surprised employees as they were closing up.

As he has done in 35 other attacks in five states, the robber was polite and offered employees a chance to put on their jackets before locking them in a walk-in cooler.

The rooftop robber has struck 35 times in five states in the last year. Authorities said this recent robbery is the masked bandit's first in California since Aug. 19, when he struck a McDonald's in Pleasant Hill.

South Lake Tahoe Police went on alert in January when a hole large enough to fit a person was found in the roof of the McDonald's at the "Y." A search of the building and subsequent stakeouts showed no sign of the robber. It was a closer call on Christmas Eve when Placerville police witnessed the McDonald's bandit in the act. Employees at the Broadway restaurant called after hearing what sounded like pebbles dropping on the sub-ceiling. Police spotted a man on top of the roof wearing dark clothing and a dark ski mask. The robber ran to the edge, slid off the roof, and jumped a 6-foot fence separating the road from U.S. Highway 50. The robber made it across the highway's four lanes and disappeared.

Two weeks later a Carson City McDonald's was robbed by the same method.

After the August robbery in Pleasant Hill, authorities believe the man moved east, striking nine McDonald's in Virginia and South Carolina. He has also robbed restaurants in Oregon and Nevada, authorities said. The robber nets as much as $2,000 at a time.

Victims say the robber is a white male, 5 feet 10 inches tall, about 155 pounds in his mid-twenties. He wears dark clothing or military green with a black mask.

McDonald's, the primary target in the robberies, has posted a $5,000 reward and installed rooftop alarms.


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