Anchorage police say armed robbers who hit two stores just hours apart Tuesday evening, were carrying a shotgun before leaving in an SUV which may have been burned Wednesday.

Police and firefighters responded at 11 a.m. Wednesday to the 2200 block of Baxter Road near Cheney Lake, police said, for a vehicle fire in an unoccupied 2003 black Chevrolet Tahoe. The Tahoe had been reported stolen Sunday from the 7200 block of Lake Otis Parkway.

 
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"The vehicle is similar to the getaway vehicle used at both the Shell Gas Station robbery on Tudor Road and the Government Hill 2GoMart robbery," police wrote. "Police have not yet verified that the burned vehicle is the same as the robbery getaway vehicle but it is a possibility that is being investigated."

APD Sgt. Cameron Hokenson said Wednesday afternoon that officers had initially responded to a report of cash-register drawers being found in nearby Nunaka Valley Park before word came in about the fire.

Police had reports Tuesday night of a Tahoe being involved in the robberies. Officers were also able to match a partial license-plate number from one report to the burned Tahoe, leading police to believe it was indeed linked to the robbery.

"We don't know that for sure, but everything we see indicates that it is the vehicle used in the robbery," Hokenson said.

A 2GO Tesoro store at 500 Hollywood Dr., in Government Hill, was robbed just before midnight by three suspects who had a shotgun, APD spokesman MJ Thim said Wednesday.

They left in a dark-colored Tahoe, Thim said, with no arrests made in the case.

Staff at the 2GO Tesoro said the station's cash register was taken during the robbery, keeping them from opening for the day.

A 2GO Tesoro on Hollywood Drive in Government Hill was closed Wednesday, April 18, 2018 after its cash register was stolen the previous night in an armed robbery. (Credit: Daniella Rivera/KTVA)

The latest robbery was reported about six hours after four people and a vehicle were involved in a similar armed robbery in Spenard. 

At 5:45 p.m., APD was called to the Shell gas station in the 800 block of West Tudor Road. 

APD says a black Chevrolet SUV, possibly a Tahoe or Suburban, pulled up to the gas station and three occupants -- but not the driver -- got out and entered the business. Two of the three suspects inside grabbed a cash register off the counter, as an employee came walking into the main area from the back. The third suspect fired a round from a shotgun and the three began backing out of the store with the cash registers and other merchandise.

The suspect fired two more rounds as the trio fled the store. 

There were no customers inside the store at the time of the incident and no injuries were reported. 

Police say the two other suspects did not appear to have weapons. 

Investigators haven't yet determined whether the same people are responsible for both robberies, according to Thim.

“It’s believed to be related, but officially they’re two separate investigations,” Thim said.

APD says the older-model SUV seen in Spenard has damage to the front passenger side and after-market silver rims. 

While investigators don't have a description of the Spenard driver, the three other suspects are all said to be light-skinned black males, all of whom were wearing sunglasses and bandanas over their faces.

The shotgun-wielding suspect has a skinny frame and was wearing a green hoodie and red beanie. 

The second suspect was wearing a large winter parka with fur trim. The third suspect was wearing a gray hoodie over a green t-shirt. 

If you have any information that can be useful in this case, call 311 immediately.

Scott Jensen and Daniella Rivera contributed information to this story.

Copyright 2018 KTVA. All rights reserved. 

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