EZ Go robber in custody!

Lawton_A convenience store robber's luck finally ran out early Friday morning.  Lawton Police say they have caught the man responsible for at least seven robberies in the past month - five at EZ Go stores.  Investigators say they caught the robber after he tried to hit the Flowermound and Gore EZ Go location for the third time.

The third time was a charm for police who were staking out the store, waiting for the robber.  An officer was watching the store from a hidden location, and just when he thought the robber wasn't going to show , police say an armed and masked man appeared as before.

Police Chief Ronnie Smith says this wasn't the first time his officers had set up surveillance on the store - or others.  "It appeared that the same suspect was doing all of them," he says.  The robber was getting bolder and bolder each time, which is why Smith says his department created a robbery task force to put officers at different store locations overnight.

"We didn't want anyone to get hurt, and we were afraid something was going to happen, and it was going to escalate," says Smith.  Officer Tim Poff of the gang unit was watching the Flowermound and Gore store when the robber attempted his third hit.  "The clerk was standing out front," says Poff.  "He hustled the clerk inside with his shotgun...started robbing store."  Poff called for backup, grabbed his shotgun, and went inside to confront the armed robber.

Smith says the man didn't immediately drop his shotgun.  "In fact he made a move with it, but the officer told him to drop it, and he did," says Smith.  "That's probably the only thing that saved him is he decided to give it up."

Police took 25-year-old Richard Stewart of Houston, Texas into custody.  Smith says he admitted to several of the convenience store robberies, and also has been identified as the man who tried to rob CiCi's Pizza, but was thwarted when beaten up by employees.  Chief Smith says Stewart's shotgun was not even loaded.

7News asked EZ Go to allow us to air surveillance video of the confrontation, but the company management refused.  They do say, however, that they are grateful police caught the robber.

Police say Steward had moved to Lawton about one month ago - around the same time the robberies began.  They are trying to figure out why he was in the area, and where he has been staying.  If you recognize him or have any information for authorities, call Crimestoppers at 580-355-INFO.