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Mooresville police say recent holdups an anomaly

  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/03/06/16/45/Gto7Q.Em.138.jpeg|240
    Robert Lahser - rlahser@charlotteobserver.com
    Mooresville business owners Beverly Hall, left, and Pam Reich take part in a question-and-answer session at a seminar on business safety held Thursday at the Mooresville Police Department.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/03/06/16/45/hWzvZ.Em.138.jpeg|209
    Robert Lahser - rlahser@charlotteobserver.com
    Mooresville business owners, from left, Beverly Hall, Pam Reich, Bobbie Brown, and Monica Hicks, listen to Mooresville Police Crime Prevention Officer Lauren Childers during a seminar on business safety held Thursday at the Mooresville Police Department.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/03/06/16/45/1t2ulP.Em.138.jpeg|448
    Robert Lahser - rlahser@charlotteobserver.com
    Mooresville Police Crime Prevention Officer Lauren Childers conducts a seminar on business safety held Thursday at the Mooresville Police Department.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/03/06/16/45/nanMS.Em.138.jpeg|228
    Robert Lahser - rlahser@charlotteobserver.com
    Mooresville business owners Jamie Knebel, left, and Jason Allen take part in a question-and-answer session at a seminar on business safety held Thursday at the Mooresville Police Department. Several recent holdups have downtown Mooresville merchants on edge, and the Police Department is holding a series of safety seminars on what business owners can do to make their stores safer.

More Information

  • What to do during a robbery

    Lauren Childers, crime prevention officer with the Mooresville Police Department, offers these tips to merchants:

    •  Remain calm. Most robbers don’t want to harm their victims, she said. They’re only interested in getting money or property.

    •  Avoid arguing, fighting, surprising or attempting to use a weapon against a robber.

    •  While you should cooperate with robbers, don’t volunteer any assistance.

    •  Activate silent alarms or other security devices if you can do so without detection.

    •  Watch the robber’s hands. If the robber isn’t wearing gloves, anything he touches might leave good fingerprints.

    •  Record serial numbers and series dates on some $5 and $10 bills, and give that “bait” money to the robber.

    •  Look the robber over carefully and mentally note as many details as possible.

    •  Glance at the weapon only long enough to identify it and look at the robber from then on.



MOORESVILLE

At least a half-dozen armed robberies around town over the past two months have merchants on edge, and police said they’re making themselves more visible to deter others from happening.

Police also have held safety seminars attended by 60 business owners and managers. Officers provide tips, from keeping windows and doors clear to posting signs that no more than $25 or $50 is kept in the cash register.

“Mooresville is a quiet community, and it’s a real safe community, too,” Mooresville police Major Gerald Childress said before the latest seminar on Thursday at police headquarters. “Violent assaults and robberies are low to none.”

As Charlotte continues to clamp down on its criminals, he said, robbers are fanning out to smaller cities and towns they see as more advantageous for pulling off crimes. “They can hop off (Interstate 77) and hop back on,” he said.

The Food Lion on North Main Street and Super Walmart at I-77 Exit 36 were robbed on the same day, Childress said.

The QT convenience store on N.C. 150 West was robbed the same day as a delivery truck driver at the nearby McAlister’s Deli.

Although the town’s violent crime rate is low, he said, fear increases with such incidents, and merchants requested the seminars with police.

Officer Lauren Childers told Thursday’s group that a robber “is on edge, already agitated, so you don’t want to make them more agitated.”

Childers also suggested merchants record nonconsecutive serial numbers and series dates of $5 and $10 bills and place the bills in a till to include in the money given to a robber. Never place large bills in the drawer under the register tray, as robbers know the practice, she said.

Keep the outside and inside of the building well lit and put wide-angle mirrors in strategic locations, Childers urged. Install a real security camera system, she said, because “the bad guys know the difference.”

Greet and make eye contact with each customer, Officer John Brammer said. “You own the room, the way you carry yourself,” he said, adding that “good customer service discourages hesitant robbers as well as other thieves.”

Police offered to look over businesses to see how they can be made more secure. Deb Welch, site manager at Lake Norman Urgent Care, said she’s going to do just that.

Marusak: 704-358-5067; Twitter: @jmarusak
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