Two stores in Richmond were hit by shotgun and handgun wielding robbers in a matter of hours Wednesday night. Now, police are warning market clerks and owners to be on the lookout.
Investigators believe the two incidents are connected. In both of them, two masked men entered the stores and stole cash. One happened in the 2800 block of Q Street in Church Hill around ten o'clock Wednesday night. Richmond Police say those two suspects also struck another store on Meadowbridge Road near the Henrico line about seven hours earlier.
"I was thinking it could be the last moment," the store clerk who was manning the Night and Day Convenience store when it was robbed explained.
He asked not to be identified.
"Suddenly two guys come in, one with a two barrel shotgun and the other guy with a handgun," he described.
He says the suspects seemed nervous.
"We need the money," the clerk recalled the robbers saying. "Don't grab anything. Don't buzz any buttons. Hands up."
The First Police Precinct is up the street from the store. Three or four times a night an officer comes and signs a security log book inside and still, they got hit. In fact, the owner tells us an officer came by to sign that log about a minute and a half after this happened.
This is the third time the store has been robbed this year alone.
"It's tough, really tough," the clerk said. "I mean, it's a struggle."
Earlier that day, the owner of One Stop Food Market on Meadowbridge experienced that struggle. Police believe the same guys hit there at three o'clock.
That owner says one guy was wearing a black mask and one had on a white one. While one of the suspects jumped over the counter to get the money, the other held up a clerk at gunpoint. The owner tells us this whole thing took just about 15 seconds.
Both stores have surveillance cameras and gave police the footage. Still, the vice-president of the Korean American Grocers Association says there's only so much they can do to eliminate risk.
"Stores are basically big stationary targets," Xavier Cibes said. "There's always going to be somebody who's out there who's going to want to take what somebody else has."
If you know anything that can get the suspects off the streets, call Crime Stoppers at 780-1000.
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