One armed robbery in the area is one too many, but five in a two-week period – most of them at convenience stores – is frightening and deplorable.
Most of them involved guns and happened at mini markets. The latest was by knife-point at Redner's Market early Tuesday evening.
If they continue, it's just a matter of time before someone gets hurt, whether it's a robber, enforcement officer, innocent employee or customer.
Many businesses have cameras to thwart such occurrences, but the brazen – and likely desperate – perpetrators haven't been deterred. They also obviously have total disregard for the victims in the robbery ... hardworking people who are trying to put food on their tables though legitimate work.
What can be done?
For one thing, customers must be more vigilant and call police at the first sign of something suspicious. Obviously, once a gun or other deadly weapon is drawn, the confrontation enters a more ominous danger level.
If the robbers are caught, bail must be set high, and the crooks must be dealt harshly in the criminal justice system. Too often, criminals are given a proverbial slap on the wrist, especially first-time offenders. If they display a weapon, they deserve no mercy from the court. They must be taught that their actions will not be tolerated.
Victims of the robberies often have nightmares and many are afraid to go to go back to work. They become fearful when new customers enter the business. They often quit their jobs because of the lingering terror of having a loaded gun or sharp knife directed at them.
It could very well be your friend, relative, or neighbor who is victimized in these robberies. Hopefully, the violent acts don't escalate into injury situations or worse.
Police are doing everything they can to catch the culprits. The fast response by the police has been evident at every one of the robberies.
What's behind the rash of theft crimes? Is it the tough economic times? Are the robbers mimicking a scene from a movie or TV show?
Is it a confidence robbers have that they can get away with it and even if they don't, that the courts will be lenient toward them?
Whatever the reason, this can't go on. People are fearful. Employees at mini-marts are on edge.
Let's hope the jerks doing the robberies are captured and severely prosecuted.
By Ron Gower