Robstown police were continuing their search this week for a man who brutally battered two women during two daylight store robberies last month.
Police released a sketch of the suspect Monday, in hopes that he is known to someone in the Coastal Bend that will turn him into police.
The sketch of the suspect involved in the Sept. 27 robbery at Trash & Treasures was made by Texas Department of Public Safety Texas Rangers Forensic Artist Suzanne Birdwell after she met with the 72-year-old victim.
The Corpus Christi Police Department Crime Stoppers is assisting Robstown police with this case. Anyone with information may call Crime Stoppers at 888-TIPS or 387-3531 or Robstown police at 387-3531.
"This guy is pretty dangerous. He's running around," new Robstown Police Chief Johnny Brown told the Robstown City Council Monday, where he was sworn into his new position by Justice of the Peace Robert "Bobby" Balderas.
"Once he gets on TV, we'll have a lot of people calling," Brown said. "We're going to continue trying to track this guy down before he kills somebody."
The unarmed robberies left one shopkeeper blind and hospitalized the other shopkeeper with a broken cheek and nose, police said.
Authorities said the first robbery occurred at about 2:30 p.m. Sept. 26 at the Town & Country Community Store at 600 N. Fifth St.
The robber, described as a Hispanic man in his 20s, went to the walk-up window and bought two soft drinks, police said. After paying for the soft drinks, he asked store co-owner Sandra Gonzalez, 45, for some chocolate candy from inside the store.
When the Gonzalez went to get the candy, the suspect reached inside to open a door to the business, police said.
After entering, the suspect used his fists and struck Gonzalez twice on the left side of the face, knocking her out. The suspect then took about $30 in cash from the cash register and ran out of the store, said Robstown police Sgt. Albert Stout Jr.
Gonzalez, who was partially blind before the attack with a prosthetic eye, was left completely blind after the assault when she suffered a torn cornea in her other eye, said Robstown Det. Arturo Gonzalez.
In addition, Sandra Gonzalez suffered a black eye, redness to her left cheek, and had some loose teeth, police said.
She was treated at the scene by Robstown Emergency Medical Services and released.
The same apparent suspect was seen again the afternoon of Sept. 27, riding a bicycle along Avenue B before going into the Robstown Laundry and Cleaners at 425 E. Ave. B and asking about prices, Stout said.
Arturo Gonzalez said police believe the two robberies were committed by the same person since the two robberies occurred at about the same time of day, only a few blocks apart.
After leaving the cleaners, the suspect went around the corner and into the Trash & Treasure antique store at 201 N. Fifth St. at about 2:30 p.m., police said.
There, the suspect had an extensive conversation with shop owner Joyce Milstead, 72, before attacking her, Arturo Gonzalez said.
The suspect even told Milstead he needed money to buy milk for his 6-month-old baby, and that he couldn't get a job because he had been in prison for five years, said Milstead's daughter, Rhonda Milstead Choron.
Police said the suspect told Milstead he had some porcelain dolls to sale and he would return to the store. But instead of leaving, the robber hid behind some furniture before suddenly attacking Milstead, police said.
Milstead suffered a broken nose, broken cheekbone, several lacerations to her face and bruising to the back of her head as the robber hit her more than a dozen times with a coffee cup and metal receipt book, Arturo Gonzalez said.
Milstead played dead and later called 911, police said.
She was taken by ambulance to Christus Spohn Memorial Hospital where she was admitted for treatment. She underwent surgery the day after the robbery and was subsequently released.
Police said about $50 was stolen from a moneybox at the Trash and Treasures store.
Rhonda Milstead Choron said her mother would close the Trash & Treasure store sometime next year.
The suspect was described by police as an Hispanic man in his 20s, 5-feet-7 inches tall, with a slender build, clean-cut haircut, medium complexion, and with tattoos on left side of his neck and both arms, with piercings on his right eyebrow and left ear.
He was last seen wearing a yellow T-shirt with dark, colored stripes and blue jean shorts.
The robber acted alone, without a disguise, police said.
Arturo Gonzalez said the public has been helpful in the investigation, but that police needed more help to catch the assailant.