AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin Police Department Robbery Unit arrested a man wanted in connection to several cellphone store robberies in the Austin area, according to an APD news release.
The man was identified as Gregory Sterling, 50, according to police.
At approximately 6:25 p.m., Jan. 30, Sterling walked into Cricket Wireless and acted like a customer. Then, he pulled a handgun and forced a female employee to the ground, the release said. Sterling stood over the woman and pressed the gun to her head while using her key to unlock the cash registers. He took the cash and left the area, police said.
Five more incidents occurred between Jan. 30 and March 7, according to the release, which are listed below:
- Jan. 30, 6:25 p.m. – 5618 Manor Rd. (Cricket Wireless)
- Feb. 10, 6:52 p.m. – 1181 Airport Blvd. (Boost Mobile)
- Feb. 13, 6:06 p.m. – 1122 Airport Blvd. (T-Mobile)
- March 2, 7:18 p.m. – 3800 N. Lamar Blvd., Suite 100 (AT&T)
- March 4, 7:39 p.m. – 1030 Norwood Park, Suite #326 (Metro by T-Mobile)
- March 7, 7:12 p.m. – 4700 Loyola Ln., Suite #105 (Metro by T-Mobile)
Police said all the aggravated robberies occurred during closing time, and Sterling pretended to be interested in buying a phone. In three of the cases, he pistol-whipped the employee. In two other cases, he dragged the employee by their hair, the release said.
After each incident, Sterling would either take cellphones, cash or both before leaving the area, police said.
During the last robbery, police said Sterling took a cellphone with GPS tracking capabilities, which allowed investigators to track Sterling’s last location.
Robbery detectives, along with Violent Crimes Taskforce (VCTF) members, conducted mobile surveillance and were able to hear Sterling’s voice in one of the surveillance videos, according to the release.
Detectives were also able to track down Sterling’s social media and compared his appearance to surveillance video, according to police.
On March 8, VCTF received updated pings of the stolen devices and tracked them to a vehicle, the release said. Officers stopped the vehicle and were able to identify Sterling as a passenger.
According to police, several pieces of evidence from the six robberies were found in the vehicle and Sterling’s residence.
Police said Sterling has a prior record. He was charged with six counts of aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon, a first-degree felony, according to the release.
Sterling remained in the Travis County Jail Monday.