March 6, 2014

Mooresville police say recent holdups an anomaly

Police hold safety seminars for businesses after armed robberies

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.

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