Safety experts share insights on rash of convenience store robberies

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- A man was back home Tuesday, after being shot in an attempted robbery at the convenience store where he works on Whitney Avenue Monday night.

"It's just sad though, you know what I'm saying. Somebody just come, take what what you're working hard for, and you know he ain't bothered nobody," said customer Johnny Wilson. He is relieved the victim, 52, is going to be okay.

Monday morning, four different convenience stores/gas stations were robbed within an hour of each other, including one where a clerk was shot. However, police believe the suspect behind those four robberies is not the one involved in the shooting on Whitney.

CrimeStoppers executive director Buddy Chapman said there is no doubt Memphis is seeing an uptick.

"We've had tips that have paid off on a number of robberies. Unfortunately, we have more robberies. They are viewed as, I think, an easy target," he said.

Chapman recalled efforts to do away with the problem during his days as police director.

"This would've been back in the 70s and 80s. We had a program where we had stakeouts at convenience stores, and when the guy came in to rob it, he was faced with an armed police officer, one or more armed police officers," he described.

Chapman is not sure a similar program would work today, but police said it is important businesses know what to do if they are robbed.

Police shared these tips with WREG:

"Always make personal safety the number one priority. Money and merchandise can be replaced.

Train employees to comply with the robber's demands and to try to remain calm, move slowly, and communicate only when necessary. If employees are in other areas of the building, let the robber know so that they are not surprised by an employee who may come out of a backroom.

When the robber leaves, employees should never follow after them, but instead lock the doors of the business, move to the back of the building and wait for the police to arrive. While they wait they can document what occurred, including the time the robbery took place, what was stolen and a description of the robber."

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