Lethbridge Regional Police continue to investigate four commercial robberies that occurred late last month and are reminding businesses to remain vigilant.
On Feb. 23, 2015 at approximately 9:45 p.m. a masked male entered Gas Plus along the 100 block of Jerry Potts Boulevard, brandished a gun and demanded cash. A brief struggle ensued between a male employee and the subject before the subject fled from the store without obtaining any property or cash. Later in the evening at approximately 10:23 p.m. a masked male entered Neighbours along the 500 block of 6 Avenue South and confronted a female employee. The man brandished a gun and demanded cash. An undisclosed amount was provided and the subject fled the store. No one was injured in either case.
Two days later during the evening of Feb. 25, 2015 two further armed robberies occurred within half an hour of each other.
At approximately 9:21 p.m. a masked male armed with a gun entered the Husky gas station along the 700 block of 13 Street North and demanded cash. None was provided and the subject fled the store. At 9:55 p.m. a masked male armed with a gun entered Subway along the 1600 block of Mayor Magrath Drive South and demanded cash. An undisclosed amount was provided and the subject fled the store. No one was injured at either location.
The suspect description is similar in all cases – a Caucasian male in his 20s, about 5’8”-5’10” tall, who wore a balaclava over his face and dark clothing.
Investigation is ongoing and police are asking anyone with information to phone 403-328-4444 or contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or submit anonymous tips online at www.tipsubmit.com. Crime Stoppers will up to $2,000 for information leading to an arrest.
The safety of the community is the Police Service’s priority and LRPS is urging business owners to remain vigilant by taking both preventative measures to reduce the risk of being victimized and ensure staff members know what to do in the event of a robbery to reduce the likelihood of injury.
A prevention and safety tip sheet for businesses is subsequently attached. Further, the Community and Diversity Resource Unit offers a “Crime Prevention Inspection” for local businesses, where officers will attend, complete an inspection and then provide the business with recommendations to improve safety and increase deterrence. Businesses can arrange a Crime Prevention Inspection by calling 403-330-5020.
Crime prevention tips for businesses:
- Watch for suspicious persons or vehicles around the business, especially at opening and closing times or at night. Do not hesitate to report suspicious activity to police immediately. Trust your instincts.
- If possible have two employees on shift at night and during opening/closing.
- Keep the inside and outside of a business well-lit.
- Keep cash at a minimum and post notices at points of entry advising of this fact.
- Install and periodically test surveillance equipment and post notices at points of entry advising that the premise is monitored by video surveillance.
- Install a silent alarm connected to a security company that can be activated from near your cash register.
- Keep windows and shop frontage uncluttered in order to provide a clear view from the street.
- Secure doors and windows at the rear of a business with deadbolts.
What to do in the event of a robbery:
- First and foremost, do not take any action that would jeopardize your own safety. No amount of money or property is worth a life.
- Treat all weapons as if they are the real thing and all firearms as loaded.
- Comply with the offender’s demands.
- Be the best witness you can be. Observe as much as possible and write down these details as quickly as you can after the robbery. Try and record the offender’s race, gender, age, height, weight, eye colour, hair colour, clothing, footwear, any distinguishing features such as tattoos or mannerisms, the direction of escape, the description of any involved vehicles (colour, make, model, plate number).
- Lock the business doors immediately after the robbery.
- Isolate the area where the offender stood, surfaces they touched, etc. immediately after they have left. Nobody should be allowed in these areas until the police arrive. This is to help preserve any evidence that may have been left behind.