Store sheep face as much danger as police officers

dwarven1

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http://www.sentinelandenterprise.com/local/ci_3719541

Store clerks [should read sheep!] face as much danger as police officers
By J.J. Huggins

Police officers and firefighters are widely considered to have dangerous jobs.

But what about convenience store clerks?

"I think nationwide, when you look at convenience-store workers or gas-station workers at night, it's more dangerous than being a police officer," said Gardner Police Lt. Det. Gerald J. Poirier.

The reason, according to Poirier, is the frequency with which violent suspects rob stores.

It happened in broad daylight in Leominster just last week.

A knife-wielding suspect allegedly walked into the Lil Peach Convenience Food Store on North Main Street around 6:15 a.m. on Monday and stole about $300 from the cash register, according to police.

The robber, who police have identified as Daniel Rodriguez, 25, of 17 Federal St., Fitchburg, told the clerk, Hakim Lashkar, to give him the money or he would kill him, Lashkar said during an interview.

Lashkar said the incident terrified him.

"I said, 'Take the money, don't kill me,'" he recalled.

Lashkar, who has worked at the store for about eight months, said he never feared going to work prior to the incident, and has never been robbed before.

"This was the first time," he said. "Everybody who has come here has been good."

A handful of employees of other area convenience stores interviewed recently said they have never been robbed, but have procedures to follow if they are.

Employees at South Street Variety on South Street in Fitchburg have Mace stashed behind the counter in case they need to defend themselves during a robbery, according to store manager Bob Patel.

"We always keep it handy," he said.

But for their own safety, the employees are supposed to refrain from fighting a robber, Patel said.

"We don't fight with him, but if possible, we'll get the license plate number" of the get-away car, he said.

Elyas Mughal, who works at the Citgo gas station and convenience store on Route 2 in Fitchburg, said he often worries for his safety, but it's a fear he's come to accept.

"We do have to make a living, we have to do something," he said.

Like Patel, Mughal said his store's policy is to remain passive during a stick-up.

"If somebody comes in with a gun, we say, 'Help yourself,'" he said. "When you see some kind of death trap, don't argue with him. We have insurance and everything. He doesn't care if he shoots somebody, it's not worth it."

Bobby Casaletto, an employee at the Cumberland Farms store and Gulf gas station on Route 13 in Leominster, said he's ordered to cooperate during a hold-up.

"We're supposed to give them what they want," he said.

The store is equipped with a silent alarm to alert the police right away, he said.

Casaletto is occasionally concerned for his safety while on the job, he said.

"Usually on the weekends and at nighttime, because we get a lot of drunk people," he said. "Sometimes I get a little scared, but usually I don't worry about it."

Bobby Patel -- no relation to Bob Patel -- said he doesn't go to work at The Turnout Convenience and Video, also on Route 13 in Leominster, feeling afraid that he's going to become a robbery victim.

"If it's going to happen, it's going to happen," he said. "Around here, it's pretty quiet."

Following orders

Some local veteran police officers agree with the submissive attitudes of the clerks, and say they frown upon people who want to act like heroes and fight off robbers.

"My word of advice is never disobey a man with a gun," Poirer, the Gardner lieutenant said. "They're getting paid minimum wage, why should they even bother (fighting back)? I wouldn't."

Most store clerks escape the holdups without getting attacked because they do what the robber tells them to do, Poirier said.

Leominster Police Lt. Det. Michael Pellechia echoed Poirier's sentiment.

"Give him the money," Pellechia said. "They're going in there armed for a reason, so it's a not a good practice to try and fight back."

Fitchburg Police Sgt. Glenn C. Fossa offered one word of advice for how to act during a robbery.

"Cooperate," he said.

Because most clerks will hand the money over without a fight, it's easy to rob a store, which is probably one of the main reasons why it happens so often, Poirier said.

Leominster had 22 robberies in 2005, and eight so far this year, according to Pellechia.

Fitchburg had a total of 60 robberies in 2005, according to preliminary statistics provided by the police department.

But the numbers from both departments include all robberies, not just armed robberies.

Specific statistics on the amount of armed robberies in Leominster and Fitchburg were not available.

Gardner sees about one or two armed robberies in a typical year, Poirier said.

But they had 13 in 2003, and Poirier attributes the number to a spike in Heroin use that year.

Police caught most of the suspects, and "every single person we apprehended later confessed to having a drug habit," Poirier said.

Fossa said he couldn't label people who rob stores as "any one group."

But, he said, "the common denominator appears to be desperation for cash, and they have elected to do that crime as opposed to work."

Store owners can do several things to deter criminals, police say.

One of the most obvious is installing surveillance cameras -- and making sure they work -- Poirier said.

Owners can go even further and set up an audio system that is directly connected to 911, so all the clerk has to do is push a button and the 911 operator can hear the robbery taking place, Poirier said.

They can also install Plexiglas in front of the counter to block a brazen perpetrator from attacking the clerk, Poirier said.

Having a pay phone outside of a store can make the building a more desirable target for robbers, he said.

"A lot these criminals use these phones as staging areas and watch until the customer base is down, and then they'll make their move," Poirier said. "A couple of times I have subpoenaed the records from the pay phone and saw that no one was on the phone, they were just pretending to use it."

Store owners should refrain from hanging too many signs in the windows or setting up displays that will block the view from people outside of the store looking in, Fossa said.

"Blocking your windows so police officers or passersby cannot see is not recommended," he said.

Stores should also empty their cash register often, so if a robber does strike, they won't get much money, Fossa said.

Robbers might even know if the store keeps a large sum of money in the drawer, he said.

"Often times the people who do these kinds of crimes will do some kind of research -- it's not unusual for them to get information from former employees about the cash," Fossa said.

Not enough protection

Most stores, especially the corporate chains, do very little to protect their employees, Poirier charged.

Poirier, during many investigations, has gone to review surveillance footage, only to find out the store's equipment is outdated and the tape is unreadable, he said.

Sometimes the cameras are pointed at the clerk, rather than people coming into the store, just to see if the clerk is stealing, he said.

"There are great digital systems out there these days, yet these huge national chains could care less about their employees," he said. "They have no crime prevention system, no policy, no rules, no nothing. All they're looking at is their profit margin, that's all they care about."

An answer to the problem could be for the legislature to enact a law that requires stores to install "crime-prevention" systems, Poirier said.

Poirier likened the idea to laws requiring gas stations to have fire suppression systems.

"How many gas stations catch fire compared to how many get robbed?" Poirier asked. "For every one gas station that catches fire, you probably have 1,000 get robbed. It's going to take a major lawsuit against one of these national chains before they enact some of this legislation. It's going take a human life, it's sad."
 
An answer to the problem could be for the legislature to enact a law that requires stores to install "crime-prevention" systems, Poirier said.
I agree. A Street Sweeper behind every counter!
 
Gee -- nice to know what store, with address -- has Mace behind the counter. That Cumbersome Farms mentioned is about 300 feet away from my house, BTW. That store may be a good target, but I know of at least one store nearby that's manned by a CCW holder (who is). Let 'em guess which one.
 
tele_mark said:
Gee -- nice to know what store, with address -- has Mace behind the counter.

Not to mention publishing what stores have orders not to resist, too. [rolleyes] Frickin' idiot reporter... does he think that all the goblins can't read??
 
"My word of advice is never disobey a man with a gun," Poirer, the Gardner lieutenant said. "They're getting paid minimum wage, why should they even bother (fighting back)? I wouldn't."

Yeah, why would anybody who gets paid minimum wage want to defend themselves. That sort of behavior should be reserved for people whose lives are worth more: police officers, politicians, gun-control advocates.

The simple truth is that there's a time to keep your mouth shut and go along with the goblins, and there's a time to do every kind of serious violence possible until they stop acting like goblins. Contrary to what the lieutenant seems to think, that distinction has absolutely nothing to do with how much money you make, whether the store is insured or any policy the employer (who will never have to confront that situation witting in his office) might have.

Ken
 
And if one of these store clerks was licensed and carrying, and did defend themselves, I wonder what would happen to them, I wonder.......

Speaking of -- you think the person mentioned to be keeping MACE behind the counter has an FID? And do you think the cops will go and check it out to verify that they do or not?
 
i dont know whos the worse, those who have a hand in taking away the means by which people defend themselves, or those that so easily give it up willingfully..
 
I have a neice

Unfortunatly for her, she works in one of these stores. I've tried to get her interested in shooting but her parents are rabid anti's. She'll be 21 in a couple of months and then I'm going to try get her to the range again. - Without telling her parents first.

Here's what really gets me: "An answer to the problem could be for the legislature to enact a law that requires stores to install "crime-prevention" systems, Poirier said."

A law to install a "Crime Prevention System". WTF? Should'nt there be a law against robbing convience stores ? [thinking] Oh wait...[thinking]

KInda like passing a law requring everyone here to have health insurance, (If you can afford it or not.) just so the politicians can say "We fixed the health insurance problem, there are no uninsured people in Massachusetts."
 
From John Farnam . . .

21Sept05

Interesting comment from a student who is a labor lawyer:

"Workman comp laws in almost all states make it far less expensive for employers to simply 'pay off' the family of a murdered employee than risk liability and litigation costs to third-party plaintiffs.

This is why Seven-Eleven won't allow employees to be armed on their premises. If an armed-robbery suspect is injured by a Seven-Eleven employee, liability exposure to the employer is vastly higher than if the employee is simply murdered by the VCA.

They'll never discuss it publicly, but the state, with the all-too-willing cooperation of most employers, has inadvertently declared all employees 'expendable!'"

/John

Regards
John
 
Good to know that all the hoops to jump through to get your CCW here in mass probably disuades most people on store clerk's wage from getting a permit. [rolleyes]

How come the reporters don't make it a point to tell the stories of all the people who offered no resistance and were STILL assaulted?

-Weer'd Beard
 
Weer'd Beard said:
How come the reporters don't make it a point to tell the stories of all the people who offered no resistance and were STILL assaulted?

...and killed.

When Ed managed a convenience store, it was held up once. And that was in a nice, quiet "bedroom" community. There was also an incident where a child molester was eyeing me when I was working there as his asst. mgr. I thought he was casing the place. To be honest, I felt better when I thought he was only a robber casing the place. They caught him the following day trying to get a 15 year old girl into his truck. I could have gotten a job as a CS clerk, but knowing the only option was giving them what they want as store policy set my teeth on edge. NFW.
 
I always felt like a sheep staked out for the wolves when I worked at a stop & rob back in NJ. I did bring my Mod 19 with me once or twice on holiday weekends when we'd have a LOT of cash in the store safe - quite against store policy. Not that I could get at the cash, but hey... I didn't want to take a chance that a robber wouldn't believe me!
 
so the store won't allow clerks to carry. If they do and get caught, what happens? They get fired. Can you imagine the shame and hardship of being fired from a 7-11 or a Cumby's?

Alive and fired from a crappo job or dead and unemployed... big decision, isn't it?
 
Bruce did a story on a CS Clerk who was fired when he shot a robber at 7-11 over at mASSbackwards. I think the mom-and-pop next door looked him up and hired him.

Good advertisment for them.

Arrrr

-Weer'd Beard
 
tele_mark said:
Gee -- nice to know what store, with address -- has Mace behind the counter.

Indeed...another helpful tip provided by the reporter (and the idiot clerk who told him) is that they are told to not resist, but then should run out to try to get the license plate number. So there's yet another reason to kill or wound the clerk. Sheesh.
 
And I'm sure that this will give some mentally deficient clerk the idea to report a phony robbery again, too. "He had a gun so I gave him everything in the safe!" And he'll get caught the next day with a bunch of new jewelry or a new car. [rolleyes]
 
I worked the 11pm to 7am shift at 7-11 in lynn at the end of union street back when i was a youngin..
i went out back to stock the cooler, and when i came back out the kid who i was working with had been stabbed 3 times in the stomache..

come to find out a few weeks later from the police, the kid behind the counter was in on it and it was his own friend who stabbed him...for realism ;) ..mental defectives...
 
Last edited:
SnakeEye said:
I worked the 11pm to 7am shift at 7-11 in lynn at the end of union street back when i was a youngin..
i went out back to stock the cooler, and when i came back out the kid who i was working with had been stabbed 3 times in the stomache..

come to find out a few weeks later, the kid was in on it and it was his own friend who stabbed him...mental defectives...


Was that the same pair in the tree bungee video?
 
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