Store Manager John Summers was on the floor, stocking a cooler at L&M on Willow Street, when two men held up the store, grabbing him from behind. The men hit him twice with a heavy juice bottle that was in the cooler. Summers says, "Because I reacted, they broke a bottle over my head, and then they broke another one, and I then chased them out of the store.
Mary's on East Grand was also robbed within a few minutes of the robbery at L&M Saturday. Summers says, "It has to be connected."
The Corner Market at the 1300 block of East Main was also robbed on Saturday. The suspects didn't get any money from that store, because the store owner said he had a gun. Police believe it was the same group of suspects that robbed the other two stores, or the crimes are at least related. Police say, if you find yourself in that situation, comply. Lt. Noel Garcia says, "Cooperate with their demands, don't escalate the situation."
Assistant Manager Amanda Mesi knows all about compliance. She survived an armed robbery at the Dollar store on South Cedar the Friday after Thanksgiving. She says the man came into the store and asked for a toy for a 10-year-old child. She says he went to look at an item, then came back with a gun under his clothes. She said she followed his instructions. Mesi says, "He was like, don't touch the money, I'll take it and he just reached over, and was grabbing the money."
Just two stores down at Mancino's, Richard Dubro was ordered into a freezer in the restaurant after two suspects burst in about two weeks ago. He feels it may be the same men responsible for the robberies that occurred at the convenience stores over the weekend. Dubro says, "It was really frightening, just the fact that someone could just come in and at any point and take your life."
All three victims say employees need help. Lt. Garcia says property owners should make sure their properties are well lit because that deters crime. He says security cameras are also a great tool because the media can take that video and show it to the public. Employees say property owners should install cameras inside the stores. In the Dollar store crime and the Mancino's robbery, there were only cameras located in the parking lot. There were none facing the store entrances or inside of the stores themselves.
Employees also feel that the property owners should pay for private security patrols if the police can't help. Summers says, "With the economy the way it is, I think police patrols need to be stepped up."Summers says until then, store clerking is going to remain a much more dangerous line of work.