PORTLAND — Police are following leads that they hope will help them solve a string of January robberies in local convenience stores and credit unions.

The rash of robberies – three convenience stores, two credit unions – stretched from Jan. 11, when a Pine Street Cumberland Farms was robbed, to Jan. 26, when the Quality Shop, 473 Stevens Ave., was robbed.

In between, a thief made off with money from University Credit Union, 391 Forest Ave., on Jan. 12, and from TruChoice Credit Union, 272 Park Ave., a week later. The Cumberland Farms at Pine and Brackett streets was hit again on Jan. 25, a day after the Global Mart at 1569 Forest Ave. was robbed, and a day before the Quality Shop was robbed.

In all but one case, a masked man dressed in black and demanding cash showed a gun. No weapon was shown in the Global Mart robbery.

Police said that based on those similarities and others, which they declined to specify in order to not jeopardize their investigation, the robberies may be related.

The robberies are unusual, too, because of the weapon brandished in nearly all the incidents.

“It’s a lot more dangerous,” police Lt. Gary Rogers said. “It’s not a lot that we get someone going around pointing a gun at store clerks.”

Unlike the explosion of pharmacy hold-ups that swept the state last year, these recent robberies appear not to be motivated by drugs. “It appears he’s going after cash,” Rogers said.

“It’s a very dangerous situation, and it’s frightening for store clerks who are staring down the barrel of a gun,” he added.

Andrew Cullen can be reached 781-3661 ext. 100 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @ACullenFore.

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