The employees of a pet store on Leland in the Lincoln Square area were still in shock yesterday over a violent robbery which took place there late last week, reported NBC Chicago.
The Soggy Paws’s SP2 pet supply store was the first of two robberies in the area in the last few days. The neighborhood’s second robbery occurred on Sunday afternoon, less than a mile south of SP2, at the clothing resale shop Second Journey Resale.
Chicago Area North police issued a community alert about the incidents. Both took place when just one employee was present, and in both cases, a man punched the store employees after taking money from their registers.
On March 21, a man entered a business in the 2300 block of West Leland Avenue around 4:15 p.m. and asked a clerk for help, then walked up to the counter and announced a robbery, police said.
Redeye Chicago reported that Emily Frank, an employee at SP2, in the 2300 block of West Leland Avenue, said a man last Thursday brought pet supplies up to the counter and the announced to her co-worker that he was being robbed.
“He was told to go to the back room. Then the guy roughed him up,” she said. “It was awful. Terrible. There was only $80 in the drawer.”
On Sunday, the man walked into a business in the 1900 block of West Montrose Avenue around 2:45 p.m., asked for help, then grabbed a worker and announced a robbery, police said. The worker handed over money and tried to leave, but the robber punched the worker in the face.
The unnecessary violence has many people concerned. The victims were beaten even though they complied with the robber’s demands.
What lessons can we takeaway from these recent attacks?
1. Complying with a robber’s demands is no guarantee that you will escape unharmed.
2. When working alone in a retail store consider arming yourself with mace/pepper spray or a taser, but only if you train to use it properly and are willing to use it.
3. Just because the customer appears to be nice doesn’t mean they are. The suspect in these robberies acted nicely, right up until he grabbed the employee, took the money, and then hit them.
4. Where you are most comfortable is where you are most vulnerable. Just because you work in a store in what is believed to be a “safe neighborhood” doesn’t mean you should let down your guard.
5. If you have doubts about a customer’s intentions maintain a safe distance or try to keep a barrier, such as a counter, between you and them.
6. Never go to a second location even if it is in the store. The employee at SP2 was told to go to a backroom of the store, where the robber beat him up. Stay where the public can see you and where you have a better chance of escape.
The police alert describes the offender as a black man between 35 and 45 years old, and between 5 feet 11 inches and 6 feet 2 inches, 240-250 pounds, with a medium to dark complexion. It also said he as wearing a beige jacket, dark jogging pants, and dark gym shoes.
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