MILWAUKIE, Ore. -- A bartender and two customers were locked inside a cooler during an armed robbery at a bar in Milwaukie early Wednesday morning. Police believe the suspects are connected to a string of Portland bar robberies.

Sometime after midnight Wednesday morning, two suspects charged into the Gilmore's Meadows Lounge, located at 5823 Southeast Creek Boulevard. Armed with guns, the suspects demanded money from both the register and lottery machines.

None of the three victims was injured. They were able to escape the cooler through a small beverage door.

"The three people in the cooler actually had a cellphone and tried to call 911 from inside the cooler but due to being in the cooler, weren't able to get reception," said officer Greg Elkins with Milwaukie police.

The suspects forced the bartender and customers into the cooler, which was locked from the outside. The suspects then fled the bar with about $2,800 in cash. Police said they don't know if they left in a car or on foot.

Police say the suspects were two black men, wearing masks, hooded sweatshirts and gloves.

This makes 11 armed robberies of bars in the Portland area since the beginning of June. Milwaukie police believe the suspects in this robbery are the same as the suspects in a string of Portland robberies, and are working with Portland police to confirm the connection.

"They're very similar, that's for sure," said Elkins. "The suspect descriptions are pretty similar to the ones happening in Portland, the motives as well; coming in with handguns and stealing money, too."

Anyone with information about the case should call the Milwaukie Police Department at 503-786-7500.


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