Two people entered Yogi's Hoagies, 475 S. State St., at 3:30 p.m. Jan. 14. They demanded money from the restaurant's lone employee, the 76-year-old female owner, while brandishing a black handgun.
The pair made away with more than $1,000 in cash, according to Westerville police reports.
The armed robbery was the fourth on South State Street since Nov. 21, when two people robbed Chipotle, 641 S. State St., as employees prepared to close for the evening.
An employee of Deals, 581 S. State St., was robbed of the evening deposits as he locked the store's doors Dec. 23, and a single robber on Jan. 4 held up the clerk at BP, 796 S. State St.
"We've had four armed robberies, and we don't have a lot of those. When we have four within a two-month time span, we take it seriously. We've been spending a lot of time on it," said Westerville Police Lt. Ron McMillin.
McMillin said police believe there is a link between at least the Deals and Chipotle robberies, and they are investigating to see if the others could be related, as well.
"We believe that at least two of them are related, possibly three. We don't believe that the fourth one is related, but we can't rule it out either," McMillin said. "There are some details that are conflicting, so we still have some more investigation to do on it."
One of the Yogi's Hoagies robbers was described as a tall white man wearing a black, pullover hooded sweatshirt with "Hollywood" written across it. He wore a bandana over his face and wore dirty white shoes with yellow laces, according to Westerville police reports.
The second robber was a shorter man wearing a red plaid jacket and a cloth over his face.
The robbers, the taller of whom was holding the handgun, demanded cash from both the register and the owner's purse.
Police have leads in the case but are hesitant to release information over concerns that they will jeopardize the investigation, said Westerville police Sgt. Brian Spoon.
"We have some detectives that are pursuing some leads that we have. We don't have anything that's concrete enough to let out," Spoon said.
McMillin said police have been working with business owners in the area, giving them tips on how to keep employees safe and encouraging them to call police if they notice any suspicious activity, particularly near closing time.
"We're being proactive in that regard," McMillin said.