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A man dressed as a woman robbed an Internet café in Warren at gunpoint with the help of a masked man wielding an assault rifle at the same time two men were robbing an Internet café in Youngstown.
Police said they believe the robberies may be related.
Reports said the men stole at least $3,500 from the Lot$ A Loot Internet Café at 2004 North Road S.E. in Warren, as well as from several customers inside the building.
A café employee told police the man dressed as a woman came into the café about 11 p.m. Monday and talked with him about the business. The man reached into his purse and pointed a gun at the employee, demanding that he open the cash register and unlock the businesses’ back door.
The employee opened the door, where a man dressed in all black and wearing a bandana over his face was standing. Reports said the man had small assault rifle in his hands that looked like an AK-47.
The gunman ordered the employee to get the “extra money” the business kept in another room. The employee told the man that money was picked up earlier by the café’s owner, reports said.
The man dressed as a woman then stole from the seven customers inside at the time. Reports said cell phones and purses were stolen.
The man dressed as a woman then put his gun to the head of one of the customers and ordered him to the floor.
The two men fled before police arrived, reports said. Investigators said the AK-47-style gun was a toy that they found in a trash bin behind the building.
Customers inside the building at the time were told there was no surveillance video because the cameras mounted in the building were fake.
At about the same time in Youngstown, two people robbed the Internet Palace at gunpoint. Police are viewing surveillance video, reports said.
Reports said about 11 p.m. Monday, two men entered the café at East Midlothian Boulevard and Shady Run Road pointed a gun at an employee and demanded money.
A second man, who was wearing “something black over his face,” ran into the cashier booth and stole money from the register, reports said.
While fleeing, one of the men told a customer to “get on the ground,” reports said.