ONLY ON KOLD: Crimes of convenience - Tucson News Now

ONLY ON KOLD: Crimes of convenience

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In every armed robbery circumstances can change in an instant. In every armed robbery circumstances can change in an instant.
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Whether it's Circle K, Quik Mart or Seven Eleven, we have convenience stores on just about every corner.

We're in and we're out in just a matter of minutes.

Unfortunately, criminals are taking advantage of that convenience, too. 

Surveillance pictures pretty much tell the story: low-level thieves looking to make a fast buck.

In most cases, they get a way with a hundred bucks or so or maybe a few cartons of cigarettes.

But in every case the stakes are incredibly high dealing with armed suspects.

"They have to be considered very dangerous because this is a very volatile situation," Pima County Sheriff's Deputy Tom Peine said. "What if the clerk would not have followed the instructions?"

Peine is talking about a brazen takedown last month where two Hispanic males wearing identical jackets robbed a Circle K on South Nogales Highway.

The good news is the clerk listened to their demands and nobody got hurt.

But in every armed robbery circumstances can change in an instant.

"They're obviously under extreme stress in these types of situations. If somebody could have walked in through the door, we just don't know where it would have gone," Peine says.

Same can be said about every commercial robbery.

And here in Tucson there's no shortage of them.

Through Feb. 16, we've already seen 61 commercial robberies in the city alone.

That's up ten percent over the past two years - and the trend is only growing.

"What we do see is that the same individuals are constantly responsible for the criminal activity within our community," Tucson Police Sgt. James Wakefield said.

Specifically, Wakefield is referring to a recent serial robber who wouldn't go down without a fight.

On Jan. 24, TPD responded to nine armed robberies over a 12-hour timeframe.

They happened all over the city and appeared to be the same suspect committing them: A black male wearing a black hoody and driving a dark-colored Cadillac.

Early the next morning that same suspect turned up at a store where police were conducting a separate investigation.

A short chase ensued and 23-year-old Willie Davis Jr. was shot and killed after he reportedly pulled a gun on Tucson police.

So what does it all mean and how does this affect you at home?

The answer is just about all of us go to convenience stores at one time or another, meaning there's always the chance you could walk into a bad situation.

"They (the criminals) are actually very dangerous," Wakefield says.  "They're ready to do violence if they need to. And it's in your face so they want to get their money and product and get the heck out of there."

We've all heard stories about good Samaritans who risk it all to go after the bad guys.

But for every hero out there are countless more who are injured or killed trying to do too much.

Your best option, police say is to listen to the robber's demands and watch very closely.

Being a good witness could make all the difference in the world.

If the suspect is armed, it might even save your life.

"If an individual is threatening force or utilizing force, certainly give them what they want and be a good witness," Wakefield says. "Best thing you can do for us is contact 911 immediately and just kind of assist police. Be our eyes and ears -- get us out there."

For a list of convenience-store suspects wanted in our community, click on the following link provided by Tucson Police Department: 

http://cms3.tucsonaz.gov/police/most-wanted/robbery

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