The suspect in a string of robberies at upscale shopping centers around Charlotte was arrested Tuesday, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said.
Lucas Hawkinson, 35, has been charged with seven counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon after holding cashiers at gunpoint at several Charlotte businesses, police said.
The robberies were mostly during the daytime and included a Starbucks on Providence Road in Myers Park, a Smoothie King in the Prosperity Church Road-Mallard Creek area, a dry cleaning business on Colony Road and several restaurants around town in November and December.
Hawkinson worked for a landscaping business and was arrested in a parking lot on South Boulevard after police contacted his employer, CMPD Sgt. Brian Scharf said Wednesday.
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Though no one was physically hurt during the robberies, Scharf said Hawkinson is still responsible for causing mental distress to victims.
“Many of the cashiers in these places are very young, so it’s something that’s going to sit with them for the rest of their lives,” Scharf said.
Hawkinson dressed in an inconspicuous way, acted nonchalant and didn’t stand out at the shopping centers involved, Scharf said.
“Had he not been in areas where he blended in well, it would not have been as easy,” Scharf said.
Scharf said a CMPD crime analyst identified Hawkinson in the end. He said Hawkinson left some electronic evidence behind at crime scenes, though he refused to go into detail about the evidence.
Hawkinson is from California and has a history of felony charges there, according to public records. Scharf said some of the earlier crimes are similar to what happened in Charlotte.
Public records show Hawkinson was put on probation for assault on a female in North Carolina in 2016.