Police say more lighting can deter late night robberies

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August 24, 2006

With three armed robberies in two days, it seems that Richmond County's convenience stores and restaurants look like easy targets for thieves.

A string of recent armed robberies are still unsolved. Two of them happened yesterday, the first at Triangle Gas on Deans Bridge Road in Augusta. Just one hour later, there was a second robbery at Windsor Package Shop in Hephzibah.

Finally, early this morning, there was a third armed robbery at the Waffle House on Deans Bridge Road.

While investigators are busy following leads, they say there are ways store owners can deter crime like this.

Dark shadows are a great hideout for robbers. It's why good lighting and visibility can keep criminals away.

Managers at Mom and Pop's Convenience Store make sure their lights come on every night.

"Like our safety, like convenience, customer can see at night," says manager Vipul Patel.

"If it's lit up there's less places for them to kind of hide in the shadows," says Lt. Jimmy Young of the Richmond County Sheriff's Office. "There's a better chance that maybe a passerby or customer will see something suspicious, and then we've got a potential witness."

Which could lead to a physical description, or maybe even a license plate number.

We shined our spotlight on North Augusta's Circle K and found it had a well-lit parking lot with fluorescents on all four sides of the building.

But the B & P on Broad Street had no side lighting.

Lt. Young also suggests keeping front windows poster-free. That will give patrols a better view inside from the road.

"It's expensive because I pay up there, it's $60 a month," Patel says of Mom and Pop's extra lighting.

While the extra electrical bill may be costing clerks, police say the extra security can be quite a payoff when it comes to shutting the lights off on criminal cases.

It's as easy as going to your local hardware store. Outdoor lights can range from $20 to $80.

It is well worth the investment--good security for under a hundred bucks.

And anything witnesses see can really help investigators. Last month alone there were thirty armed robberies. 20 of them went unsolved, so every bit of information helps.