Investigating An Amarillo Crime Scene

Sgt. Keith Cook, APD
Sgt. Keith Cook, APD

Watching television crime shows leads you to believe it takes mere hours to solve a crime. But what looks like hours actually takes several tedious weeks.

Take a robbery for instance...

On the news, we show you the crime scene and maybe some time later a mug shot of the person police have arrested.

It is what happens in the interim we want to show you.

November 7th, around 7:00 pm.

Officers are called to an armed robbery at the America's Best Value Inn on Paramount.

Just after eight, another armed robbery. This one at the La Quinta Hotel on Coulter.

Minutes later, a third armed robbery at the Comfort Inn on Soncy...same suspect description for all three.

One of the officers on scene, Trent Thomas, says "the first officer kind of gives a description of who the suspect could possibly be or the direction of travel."

The officer tells dispatch to clear the airwaves and prepare for a description.

After the third robbery, officers may have found the suspect. Thomas says, "officers just picked up a subject matching the description of the robber. They are taking him for the witness to identify him."

But even though the robberies stopped when he was picked up, it turns out that man was not the robber.

Meanwhile, police have an identification unit on scene at every location.

The investigator lifts five prints. Back at the station, the ones that are clear enough to run go through a database of 180 thousand arrestees in the 26 Texas Panhandle counties.

Unlike what you see in CSI, the results are not instantaneous. Sgt. Keith Cook says, "we get the results within the hour."

The prints yield no results, making the investigation come to a screeching halt. Cook says, "basically we've gotten as far as we can go without someone coming forward and saying this is the guy."

For now, those prints will stay in the system.

We spoke with investigators this afternoon and they tell me they had a few other suspects in mind and ran their fingerprints, but nothing turned up. Although this case is frustrating investigators, a majority of crimes like this do get solved.