Valero store on Meridian to beef up security after second robbery

01/21/2014 5:59 AM

01/21/2014 5:59 AM

After groups of armed men barged into the Valero convenience store on Meridian south of Kellogg twice in eight days, store officials say they plan to make significant changes to improve security.

“We believe it’s the same people as last time,” store manager Alicia Ritchie said Monday, taking a break from reviewing still images taken from security footage.

On the night of Jan. 11, four masked men – two of them armed – robbed the convenience store at 851 S. Meridian. They got away with an undisclosed amount of cash and cigarettes.

Shortly after 9:30 p.m. Sunday, six men came around the back side of the store and confronted a clerk as he returned from taking the trash out, Ritchie said.

“They pointed guns at him,” Ritchie said. “He immediately ran inside, ran to the bathroom and locked himself into the bathroom.

“When they came in, there was nobody at the counter, so they just kinda took off.”

There were six men this time, Ritchie said. Two had guns – a handgun and a shotgun – and three had backpacks. One of the backpacks was pink. All six had hooded sweatshirts and gloves on.

Ritchie laid out a series of security enhancements to protect the store from future robberies.

“We’re closing off the sides with fences so they can’t go behind (the building) any more,” she said.

There’ll be more security cameras and lighting – perhaps spotlights as well.

“We’re doubling up coverage so nobody’s alone at night,” Ritchie said. “Hopefully, that’ll help.”

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