COLUMBIA — A north Columbia convenience store was robbed Thursday for the second time in three months, Columbia police said.
Two men, one of whom was armed with a handgun, walked into Casey’s General Store, 2520 Range Line St., at about 10 p.m. and demanded cash from the two women working at the store, police said.
The men were well disguised, Columbia police Sgt. Hammond said, wearing black clothes, white bandanas over their faces and socks on their hands to avoid leaving fingerprints.
Police said the suspects left with an undisclosed amount of cash and fled separately; one got into a gold four-door compact car, and the other ran northeast from the store. Hammond said he did not know why the men fled separately.
Anyone with information should call CrimeStoppers at 875-8477.
Thursday’s robbery was at least the 13th in Columbia since August, according to previous Missourian reports. Hammond said robberies increase every year around the holiday season.
Robberies, both armed and strong-arm , are frequent occurrences in Columbia, according to statistics from the police department.
In 2005, 114 were reported, compared to 116 in 2006. As of August, 83 robberies had been reported in Columbia.
The police department’s Community Services Unit works to prevent such crimes through education.
Sgt. John White, supervisor of the unit, said the department offers a free robbery prevention program and a free annual seminar for businesses, which teaches business owners crime prevention techniques.
“We are more than willing to help, and we can tailor the program to any business,” he said. “We can teach employees how to handle a robbery situation to keep themselves safe, as well as make suggestions to the management on how to prevent robberies from taking place through their environmental design.”
Hammond said security cameras are often important in helping police investigate crime.
“There are a lot of convenience stores in Columbia, and since burglaries are up during this time of year, we try to make sure they keep their video equipment functioning properly with fresh tapes,” he said.
Anyone interested in learning more about the police department’s crime preventions programs may call the Community Services Unit at 874-7405.