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Trio holds up 2 Cleveland bars at gunpoint within 10 minute span

Posted at 11:39 AM, May 31, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-31 14:17:55-04

CLEVELAND -- Two Cleveland bars were held up at gunpoint within a 10-minute span on Friday.

The first call Cleveland PD got was in response to an aggravated robbery at Cocktails Bar located at 9208 Detroit Ave.

One victim on scene said that at 1:45 a.m., a white man with a dragon tattoo on the side of his neck was at the front door.

As he walked towards the door and pushed it open for the man, a second man described as a white male with a scarf around his face, black shirt, black cap and black gloves entered the bar pointing a black semi-automatic handgun and demanding money.

The man refused to give up the money, at which point the scarfed suspect tried to push past him. The victim grabbed a baseball bat from behind the bar and chased the suspect out.

Just 10 minutes later, police got a call about an aggravated robbery at McNamara's Bar at 8611 Lake Ave.

The bartender told police a man rushed into the bar wielding a handgun and demanding that she open the register.

She opened the register and ran to the patio area for safety.

Surveillance video shows the suspect grabbing the money and leaving the scene. 

One suspect was described as 6'1" white male wearing a flat-billed baseball cap, grey hooded sweatshirt and a camouflaged bandana around his face. The other was described as a 5'9" white male wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and shorts.

At the time this robbery was happening, a patron of the bar tried to run out, but was hit by one of the other suspects standing outside. The patron was able to break free and escape to safety.

Police determined from witness statements that the suspects left in a silver or gray vehicle turning southbound onto W. 85th Street.

The owner of the bar provided access to surveillance footage which showed the suspects initially arriving. There was also a third suspect waiting with a getaway car.

After talking with other units, police determined the incident was connected to the robbery that had just taken place minutes before at Cocktails.

Authorities have arrested James J. Valenti, of Cleveland, in connection with the robberies. The other two suspects are still being sought. 

Valenti was charged with aggravated robbery.