Police Call Spike in Business Robberies "Unusual"

By: Amaka Ubaka Email
By: Amaka Ubaka Email

Police say there have been 27 business-related robberies in Omaha since September 1st. It’s a staggering number that police say is unusual.

In the span of eight hours starting Wednesday evening, there were four armed robberies in the metro. The first one happened at a Taco Bell on 42nd and E streets around 9 p.m. A man wearing a bandana over his face walked in with a gun, demanded cash and then ran off heading south.

Two hours later, a couple of armed men took money and cigarettes from the Anderson Food Shops near 140th and West Center Road. There was a third robbery at a Speedee Mart near 132nd and Grover.

The last one happened around 5 a.m. Thursday. Someone robbed the Village Inn at 72nd and Sorensen Parkway. It's the third Village Inn to be robbed in Omaha since last Thursday.

Police say they can’t explain the spike, but some stores are closing earlier to be less of a target. Manizha O'Connor is a clerk at Tobacco and Phones 4 Less near 42nd and Dodge. “If we stay open later there are less people at night and obviously more opportunity to get robbed."

She says that the convenience store used to stay open until midnight, but now closes at 11 p.m. “We got robbed several times and after that we started closing earlier."

Police say they are working on every lead they get, but so far have made one arrest. Officers arrested Tiuana Johnson last week. He’s accused of robbing a Domino's Pizza on September 20th.

Police tell Channel 6 News that they have an entire unit dedicated exclusively to robbery investigations. They also have a special unit that's giving local store operators advice on how to make their businesses safer.

Police say it's important to report any suspicious activity, especially near a business. They also say if you see a vehicle involved in a robbery and can do so safely, write down the license plate number.

Anyone with information on a robbery should call 402-444-5652.

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