Police warn of fast-food bandits

Pierce County law enforcement agencies handed out safety information at fast-food restaurants Tuesday in response to a series of recent armed robberies of restaurant managers by two men impersonating police officers.

Investigators especially want employees to be wary of pulling over for an unmarked car that has police-type lights.

“We don’t want them stopping for unmarked cars,” Pierce County sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said. “Call 911 and ask for a marked police car.”

The two robbers have been in a vehicle equipped with red-and-blue police-type lights. Brandishing guns, they’ve stopped their victims after the employees left their fast-food restaurants in the dark, early morning hours.

Investigators believe the two men are responsible for four incidents since early October.

In two cases, the bandits have taken the employees back to the closed restaurants so the businesses could be robbed of cash.

In the most recent incident early Sunday, a woman was sexually assaulted in Tacoma after she told the robbers she didn’t have the keys to the restaurant.

In the safety flier, law enforcement officials strongly encourage drivers not to stop immediately if someone in what appears to be an unmarked police car tries to pull them over.

Instead, drivers are encouraged to call 911 and maintain their speed. Police officials say drivers then should head to a well-lighted area.

“Tell the 911 dispatcher where you are and that you are being pulled over by an unmarked vehicle,” the flier states. “Ask the 911 dispatcher to verify you are being pulled over by a police officer.”

Drivers also should try to get a license plate of any suspicious vehicles that might be tailing them or hanging around the restaurant.

Stacey Mulick: 253-597-8268