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Second dry cleaner robbed in three days

February 26, 2006|by PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - A Dual Highway dry cleaners was robbed Saturday afternoon by a man who showed a gun and told its co-owner he was hungry and needed money.

The man entered J & J Cleaners, at 1746 Dual Highway, about 3 p.m., walked up to the counter and showed Joyce Lee, who was standing at the store's cash register, a handgun, Hagerstown Police Department Sgt. Fred Wolford said.

Lee, still shaken from the incident, said the robber "wasn't rude at all. He just demanded money and said he was hungry." Lee and her husband, Jinyong Lee, have owned the business for about six years.

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Jinyong Lee was in the back of the store when the robbery occurred. No customers were at the business during the robbery, Joyce Lee said.

Police still were searching for the robber Saturday, whom Joyce Lee described as a white man about 5 feet 4 inches tall with a thin build, and wearing a white baseball cap and navy blue sweat shirt.

She said he was wearing sunglasses, but she could see that he had "really deep eyes" and said he looked familiar.

The robber stood at the counter for about 10 minutes while Joyce Lee gave him a small amount of cash, prompting him to run out of the store, she said.

Joyce Lee ran out after him -in hopes of catching a license plate number - but the robber sped off in a silver Chevrolet Malibu, which had its rear license plate covered with a garbage bag.

The car last was seen turning right onto Robinwood Drive, Wolford said. He said police were searching the area.

Lee said she anticipated the robbery after learning that another dry cleaner had been robbed a couple of days earlier.

Kenley Express Cleaners, at 761 E. Wilson Blvd. in Hagerstown, was robbed of more than $500 Thursday night. The robber in that incident was described by Patricia McMahon, who was working alone when the robbery occurred, as a white man about 5 feet 7 inches tall and about 140 pounds. That robber was wearing a dark ball cap, sunglasses, a blue Windbreaker and blue jeans, McMahon has said.

On Saturday, Sheila Strait, who works at the Liquor Locker at 1740 Dual Highway, said she only got a fleeting glimpse of the man who robbed the business next door. She said she was worried about Lee.

"Why in the name of Pete would you rob a dry cleaner," she said.

Police ask anyone with information about the robberies to call the department at 301-790-3700.

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