Police ask public to stay alert with increase in armed robberies - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Police: Stay alert with increase in armed robberies

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ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

The number of armed robberies across South Georgia has increased dramatically in recent weeks.

Police think the same gunman tried to rob two Albany restaurants Saturday night, want business owners and Christmas shoppers to be on guard.

Albany Police say vigilance kept the Subway in East Albany from being robbed Saturday night, when a tip alerted the business before the gunman could get inside.

Albany Police Corporal Brian Covington "A watchful citizen saw some activity that looked not right.  Called the store," said Albany Police Corporal Brian Covington. "Employees did the correct thing and locked the door."

Police are urging more business owners and people doing their Christmas shopping to do the same.

"Be watchful. Report any and all suspicious activity or persons by calling the police department," said Covington, "so we can go ahead and dispatch officers to that area.  To make contact with those persons."

Investigators are still trying to determine if it was the same masked gunman who later robbed the Little Caesars on North Slappey, firing a shot when he left.
 
Some stores like Shoe Station keep armed security guards on duty during the holidays, watching the parking lot to protect the business and the customers.  Parker Security says shoppers need to stay alert as much as business owners.  Owner Lamar Parker urges people to shop in groups, going in and out of the stores together.... being watchful.

"Know where your car is parked all the time," said Parker. "Check the surroundings around you. Make sure nobody is lurking around that you seem suspicious of."

Parker also cautioned shoppers to stay vigilant even at home, in case robbers follow you from the store.

"Once you get home, if you have got a garage, drive in the garage.  Make sure the garage door is down before unloading your packages from the trunk of your car," said Parker.

Police urge businesses to vary their closing procedures and make sure their video surveillance equipment is working, because the holidays often brings more violent crime.

Security experts urge you to stay just as alert and vigilant during the daytime as at night, and to not challenge a robber.

Albany Police say the overall number of armed robberies in 2013 is actually down 13 percent over last year.

The number of businesses robbed with guns is down 51 percent.

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