Bellevue police yesterday arrested a 30-year-old Bellevue man who they say robbed seven small businesses in Bellevue, Mercer Island and Newcastle in the past two weeks. Police say the man...

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Bellevue police yesterday arrested a 30-year-old Bellevue man who they say robbed seven small businesses in Bellevue, Mercer Island and Newcastle in the past two weeks.

Police say the man robbed the businesses at various hours. The robberies followed the same pattern, police said: The man would make a small purchase, wait for the cashier to open the register and then demand money, implying he had a gun.

The man seemed particularly drawn to robbing Baskin-Robbins ice-cream shops.

The suspect was booked into the King County Jail on investigation of robbery.

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Bellevue police spokesman Tory Mangione declined to say how much money was taken in the holdups, but he said, “Generally, with this type of crime, the take is not usually a whole lot.

“It draws a little bit of concern that people are willing to go out there and do that, given how little they stand to gain.”

Police credited “good old-fashioned police work” for the arrest yesterday. Bellevue and Mercer Island police detectives had worked together to produce a sketch of the robber from witness accounts. And they circulated photos from surveillance tapes within police departments all over King County.

Then, shortly after midnight yesterday, Bellevue patrol Officers J.R. Litehiser and Greg Grannis were working undercover, staking out the parking lot at Tyee Middle School in the south end of Bellevue because police thought the robber might target that neighborhood.

They saw a car in the parking lot, recognized the occupant from the sketch and arrested him.

“There was good communication between the involved agencies, and a proactive step was taken to try and solve this crime,” Mangione said. “We were able to solve seven crimes that we know of that this guy has committed.”

Police say the man committed four robberies in Bellevue:

Dec. 17 at a Baskin-Robbins on Southeast 38th Street, Dec. 20 at a Bartell drugstore on 156th Avenue Northeast, last Wednesday at a Chevron gas station on 150th Avenue Southeast, and Saturday at a Shell gas station on 150th Avenue Southeast.

They also accuse him of robbing a Baskin-Robbins store on 78th Avenue Southeast on Mercer Island Dec. 19 and twice holding up a Baskin-Robbins on Coal Creek Parkway Southeast in Newcastle, on Dec. 18 and Friday.

Cara Solomon: 206-464-2024 or csolomon@seattletimes.com