Store owners want better protection - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Store owners want better protection

Commissioner Howard Commissioner Howard
APD Chief Michael Persley APD Chief Michael Persley
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

A rash of recent violent convenience store robberies in Albany has store owners concerned. Some have contacted City Commissioners and police for help.

A clerk remains hospitalized in good condition after he was stabbed at least twice during a Saturday robbery.  City officials now hope to prevent further attacks.

Surveillance video shows an armed robber who stabbed the clerk in the Neil Food Mart Saturday afternoon, even after the victim gave him the money from the cash register.

Last month, shots were fired at clerks at two Albany stores during robberies, but both somehow were not hit. 
Store owners have contacted city officials for help.

"When you continue to have these crimes that take place in the broad day, it sorta raises a red flag to how safe are the individuals working in these stores," said Albany City Commissioner Jon Howard.

Howard and Police Chief Michael Persley say robbers appear to be going after stores that are easy targets. "We have a lot of stores that may have one or two personnel just working in there.  And also when you look at the security of the store, sometimes they make themselves easy targets for criminals," Persley said.

Now Police Crime Prevention officers are meeting with store owners, recommending protections like plexiglass shields around employees.

"They have bullet proof enclosures.  We have a couple of stores that do that. Also we have another store that at certain times they lock the doors and they just do transactions through windows.  That decreases the type of any robberies occurring at the store," Persley said.

Howard says city officials want to do everything they can to save lives and protect employees, because this rash of crimes costs the entire community.

"It certainly will not encourage economic development to a city. Because most times your top executive will feel that the city is not safe," Howard said.

So Albany Police and Commissioners working with store owners, trying to make them a harder target for criminals, to stop these violent robberies.

Chief Persley says the investigations into these robberies continue, but they don't have any evidence now they are related.

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