Las Vegas Sun

December 16, 2017

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Suspect in Camo Bear robberies hit 17 stores over a year, police say

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METRO POLICE

Lanarrd Laird

In a span of about a year, a glove-wearing, armed suspect — who would often concealed his face with a camouflage-pattern bandanna — eluded authorities in at least 17 Las Vegas-area convenience store robberies.

In every robbery, he brandished a gun and demanded cash while telling the victims and witnesses to place their phones on the counter, go to the bathroom and count to 100 or 200. “Don’t come out until I leave,” according to his Metro Police arrest report.

Several times, Laird stole menthol cigarettes, cigarillos and energy drinks. He once stole “an assortment of pastries,” and on another occasion he took an undisclosed amount of beef jerky, according to police.

The robberies, which began Dec. 28, 2016, were coined by police in Las Vegas, North Las Vegas and Henderson as the “Camo Bear series.”

After a short foot pursuit after a robbery on Saturday, the crime spree ended with Lanarrd Laird in handcuffs about 3:30 a.m. in the south valley, police said.

The remorseful 29-year-old told detectives that he’d fallen on “financial trouble” last year and that he had wrestled with whether to commit the robberies, “but the need for more money outweighed his conscience.”

No one was physically injured during the crimes.

In the first reported robbery, police allege Laird went into a store near Jones Boulevard and Sahara Avenue and made an employee lock the door before stalking him around the store demanding money, police said. Laird told the clerk to go into the bathroom and count to 100.

He committed at least one robbery a month, with the exception of February or October, according to the report.

Each robbery followed a similar pattern, and detectives eventually caught on. Laird would case the businesses, park his car off-property, conceal his face and hands, and pull out a gun, take money and items, tell witnesses to walk to the bathroom and tell them to count to 100 or 200 before they could exit, police said. He would leave the phones behind.

Gloves worn by Laird prevented investigators from collecting fingerprints, but the description from the victims was consistent: a heavy-set man who stood about 6 feet. He wore dark clothes, including a hooded sweatshirt, and often used a camouflage-pattern bandanna to conceal his face, police said.

In June, investigators began the process of accessing data from cellphone towers near the stores robbed, police said. Last week, detectives obtained the information to break the case open, and a phone number connected to the crime scenes led to a name, which led them to their suspect, who they began tracking, according to the report.

On Saturday, investigators had a surveillance team on Laird when he walked into the south valley 7-Eleven. The worker heard a door chime and soon realized the store was being robbed, police said. Laird taped the gun against the counter, saying, "I'm gonna need to get in the safe and register."

After taking change and $5 bills totaling about $30, along with beef jerky, Laird told the employee to go to the bathroom, police said.

The employee was able to activate a silent alarm before Laird left, police said. He was subsequently taken into custody outside, after a short foot pursuit.

When confronted by police, Laird dropped a bag of cash and a gun, police said. He was in possession of a camouflage-pattern bandanna.

In an interview to detectives, Laird admitted to all but two of the robberies he was confronted with, police said.

On Wednesday evening, he remained booked without bail at the Clark County Detention Center on 32 total counts, including kidnapping, robbery and burglary, jail logs show. He's scheduled to appear in front of a judge on Dec. 19.