UPDATE: Suspect nabbed in string of armed robberies

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A South Bend man is awaiting formal charges after police say he confessed to seven armed robberies in Mishawaka and South Bend.

At around 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, officers were dispatched to La Candy Shoppe, located on Mishawaka Ave., in response to an armed robbery. The description of the robber matched that of the man who had robbed several locations in Mishawaka and South Bend.

Acting on a tip, police arrested Christopher Williams, 25, at his South Bend home later in the afternoon. Williams admitted to robbing La Candy Shoppe, along with six other robberies in the area.

The first incident happened Monday evening at a popular shopping plaza. An employee inside Jake’s on the Square noticed a man standing outside the store doors at around 6:30 p.m. , the store owner tells Newscenter 16.

“He was lurking outside kind of peering in through window,” said Ellen Klinck, store owner.

The man later entered the store and tried to lock the door. He approached the check-out counter and displayed a handgun, asking the employee to give him the money in the register.

Surveillance video shows that the incident took just a matter of minutes and left the employee shaken up.

“Our cameras are all over the store they run 24 hours a day,” Klinck said. “Thankfully, we did have him on tape.”

A family entered the store seconds after the suspect left the store and helped calm down the victim.

As police were putting together details on Monday’s case, they got a call about another armed robbery at a hair salon. His & Hers Family Hair Care became the target of a man matching the suspect description for the incident at Jake’s on the Corner.

A security camera was able to get an image of the man as he walked up to the salon. Witnesses were also able to provide a vehicle description to police.

“A bunch of us were sitting in the back,” said Becky Shaffer, who works at the salon. “The gentleman walked in and said ‘I’m sorry but my son is sick and I need to take your money.’”

In both instances, the suspect remained calm throughout the robbery and mentioned carrying out the crime to help his sick son, according to witnesses.

“He is targeting stores where there are individuals by themselves, females by themselves,” said Lt. Tim Williams, Mishawaka Police. “So, we are definitely concerned about this matter.”

Police say last week, Williams also held up Burton's Laundry on Lincolnway, although he walked away without any cash.

Police recovered evidence from these past robberies when they arrested Williams. He is currently being held in the St. Joseph County Jail while the prosecutor considers his charges.

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