Monday, March, 4, 2013
Wichita city leaders are working with police and business owners after a spike in the number of small retail store robberies in town.
The latest robbery happened Friday night at the Family Dollar on South Woodlawn. Police arrested a 21-year-old man shortly after the crime. They say he may be connected to several other Family Dollar and Dollar General robberies.
A robber gunned down a clerk and a customer at a Dollar General store near 13th and Oliver last year.
"I remember the killing they had here. It's a sad situation," said shopper Barry Hodges.
Since October first there have been 43 armed robberies at these small grocery-type stores, leaving shoppers and clerks scared.
"My wife, she don't get out and shop without me," said Hodges. "We try to do shopping before dark, and I don't see it getting any better to be quite honest with you."
Many of the robberies are happening in Wichita City Vice Mayor LaVonta Williams' district. She's been meeting with police to find a solution.
"Enough is enough," said Williams. "Enough is enough."
Many of the stores are new to these areas, making it easy for shoppers to walk or ride a bike.
"Everybody is concerned," said Williams. "It's a huge concern but that community wants to shop, and they want to have the right to shop."
Police say thieves are targeting these stores because they do business in cash. Now cops are training business owners in preventing these crimes and protecting themselves.
"We don't want businesses closing because they are victimized," said Wichita Police Lt. Joe Schroeder.
Police are trying to figure out if the suspect they arrested Sunday night and other identified suspects are connected to other recent Family Dollar and Dollar General robberies.