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Another fast food robbery in Valdosta

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By Alicia Eakin - bio | email

July 23, 2008

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - Another Valdosta fast food restaurant is robbed at gunpoint and investigators suspect the same gunmen may be involved.

Police say three masked gunmen entered the Taco Bell on North Ashley street around 10 Tuesday night.

They demanded money from an employee, and then took off.

This is the fifth fast food restaurant in Valdosta robbed at gunpoint this month.

Bandits hit the Sonic on July 7th. The Taco Bell on St. Augustine Road was hit the 8th and the Hardees on South Patterson on the 9th.

Last weekend, that same Hardees was stuck up for a second time.

Police believe four out of the five robberies may be connected.

"Anytime you have something that's similar in nature you start looking to see if the suspects are similar, if the methods or operation are similar. So you do look into that and we are taking that into consideration at this time," says Lt. Bobbi McGraw.

Police are asking anyone who may have seen anything to call their crime tip line at 229-293-3091.

Here are safety tips released by police.

  • Vigilance is the key.  If they see suspicious activity of any type, contact the 911 dispatcher.
  • After dark, consider locking doors to the dining area and serving customers through the drive through.  If that isn't possible or practical be keenly aware of who enters the premises and what they are doing even if the business owner has to station in the dining area to watch for suspicious people or activities.
  • Keep all rear and other doors that are not used by customers locked with a deadbolt during business hours.
  • Once the business is closing, lock all doors and call law enforcement for money and/or people escorts.  During the process of closing the business call law enforcement and ask that they have units make a presence in the area to scare off would be robbers.
  • When employees are taking out trash and mops, etc., have them look before going outside to ensure there are no people waiting outside to commit criminal acts.
  • Install silent alarms in the business that are readily accessible for employees to activate at the first sign of a robbery or other trouble.
  • Install a digital video system in the business that shows different angles and different parts of the business to include the safe area and the cash register areas.
  • If practical hire private security for the business to help prevent robberies.
  • Make frequent trips to the bank for deposits at varying times during business hours so there is no large sum of money in the business at any given time.
  • Train employees to make note of facial features, body shape, clothing, vehicle colors, license plates, etc. of criminals who commit robberies and other criminal acts at the business.
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