It keeps happening again, and again. Armed robberies, often at night, some are related, some are not. The latest crime happened early Wednesday morning.
As clerks headed to work Thursday night, many fear who will come through the door next.
Now, it's left owners balancing the cost of safety and deflecting customers’ business.
In an overnight robbery Monday, four masked men drag a store clerk to the cash register and they force her to empty it and safe.
It's just one of the latest during what police are calling this summer's crime spree of convenient store hold ups.
"Quite often if somebody is committing these types of crimes they will continue commit them until they get caught,” Omaha Police Officer Scott Orsi said. Orsi explained officers in his unit are keeping a close eye on stores. Even targeting areas where stores are repeatedly hit.
Orsi said what his office needs most in the crime fight, are good witnesses and good video. This summer, usually an overnight robbery event could include one or more stores connected to the same suspects. Connecting all of them in a string of crimes is bit more difficult. “It’s kind of a fine art putting all these robberies together to determine which ones are connected which ones are not connected, especially when you have 2 or 3 groups going on at the same time,” Orsi said.
Police agreed having a camera is a great option, a security camera to capture video and sound of a robber. But chances are, if there is just one camera, naturally it would be pointed at the door, which means the shot might not be that good or blown out by the incoming light. Having more than one camera means an investment in security and possibly helping catching the robbers.
That's what Layket Khan's eight cameras have been doing for 12 years at Sam's Food and Liquor Store in Midtown. Khan said he has not had any problems at his store lately but knows when a store is held up; the robber will take more than what is in the register. "Insurance, when there is a problem, insurance will pay but then premiums go so high,” Khan said.
One aspect Khan faces, paying out of pocket for security protection. If he wanted more cameras, security guards or a secured counter and register, he could but at a cost of driving away customers who believe the store is a frequent target of robberies. "I think people don't like it, some put the window and glass (between counter), they would be scared, and they don't like that system," Khan said.
So it is a balance because Khan believes no life is worth losing over what little cash is kept in the register.
Police have been able to make arrests in some of the robberies. Anyone with information about the robberies are asked to call police at 402-444-7867.