Police are searching for a masked gunman who robbed a store crowded with customers as more convenience stores have become targets of crime in recent weeks.
Police said the armed robber took cash from the Mini Mart on Stuart Avenue Friday night.
Just before 9 p.m. Friday the masked gunman ran from a neighboring apartment complex to the Mini Mart on Stuart Avenue.
There were at least three customers inside the store, as well as employees, when the gunman burst in. Waving the gun wildly the man demanded cash from an employee.
Surveillance video showed one customer run out the door. The gunman then put an open backpack on the counter, and the clerk put the cash into it.
The robber was wearing sunglasses and a mask over his face. He was dressed in what appeared to be sweat pants, a red shirt, and a gray hoodie.
After getting cash from both registers, he checked the first one again, and then before leaving he checked through the door carefully.
Then he was seen running across the parking lot back toward some apartments.
The owner noted that a car was parked with its lights on in the same spot, but drove away after the robber disappeared.
Then on Saturday just before 4 a.m. a man threw a large concrete block through the front door of the Woodall's Convenience Store in the 1400 block of North Jefferson.
A man with no mask, wearing a very distinctive striped shirt, jumped the counter and rifled under the counter. He grabbed five packs of Newport cigarettes and 5 packs of cigars before running.
"Well it's aggravating," said owner Wright Woodall. "You know they didn't steal much, but they cause of a lot of damage. It's costs money to fix it."
It seems convenience stores are a target of criminals in recent weeks, but owners say it's always been that way.
"When it comes in spurts of three or four a weekend, I guess in that kind of situation we are targeted now," Woodall said. "But we've always been on the radar, and probably always will be."
Woodall also said they have invested heavily in surveillance cameras and alarms in their stores and wonder why crooks don't get the message that there is no money left in their stores at night.
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