Law enforcement agencies from across the U.S. have reached out to Jalopnik for help with car identifications since your input was "critical" to solving a hit-and-run earlier this year.
Today, we try to help out an officer from the Wheeling, WV police force who reached out — independent of the department — seeking help identifying a vehicle involved in a trio of armed robberies from the past month.
He noted that the robberies have escalated from "the thought of having a weapon, to showing the grip of a pistol, to finally drawing the pistol and pointing it at customers/employees." The suspect descriptions match in each case, and they've all been reported within a four-mile area.
He's worried about what the fourth incident might hold.
We obtained surveillance footage of nearby parking lots, but are currently unable to identify the vehicle make/model or the license plate of a vehicle that may be involved with these robberies.
That is why I'm seeking your and your [readers] help to identify the vehicle.
The vehicle I have in mind is a 1998 BMW 5 series silver in color.
Two things I observed are the depths of the wheel well/rims/short back end/wrap-around taillights/a slight blemish can be observed in the front grill in between the headlights, but very difficult to be certain.
I will provide two photos to you, one being the original footage (up top) and one that is watermarked (left) and de-blurred.
The city could use your help before someone gets hurt. Each instance has escalated as far as physicality and force goes during these robberies. Any help is greatly appreciated.
In the most recent case, the robber — who is "is concealed up to the latex gloves" — forced his way into a Gumby's convenience store just before closing last Sunday night "and declared he was robbing the establishment," Deputy Chief Martin Kimball was quoted as saying in a story on the local NBC affiliate.
The man pulled out a black gun and fled with a large amount of cash, Kimball said, making it the third armed robbery in Wheeling in less than a month. ...
Kimball said he believes drugs are behind the crime, and that the cashiers made the right decision in handing over the money.
"That makes them a very dangerous person. That's why we always ask people to comply with their wishes, because we don't know what state of mind that particular person may be in, and they might actually use the weapon," Kimball said.
So, is Officer Sean Brantley's thought of the vehicle being a 1998 BMW 5 series correct? If not, any suggestions for other possible vehicles? Let us know. The folks in Wheeling would greatly appreciate it.