Armed robberies trend upward in Macon

The Dollar General on Pio Nono Avenue is one of the latest locations to be hit in a string of armed robberies that have taken place over the last week in Macon / Eric Mock (WGXA)

MACON, Ga. -- There was an uptick of commercial armed robberies in November in Bibb County.

Violent crimes investigator Sgt. Joseph Vamper said that around the holidays it is common to see an increase in these types of crimes.

He said this can happen for a few reasons. For one, he said that criminals know that people are likely carrying around more money in order to go holiday shopping, so it is a time when they know a personal armed robbery could garner them a larger amount of cash.

Secondly, Vamper said that this also applied to business. He said that those who want to rob a store know that they likely have more money in the register because of the increase in shoppers during the holiday season and are hoping to get a bigger payoff.

The most recent armed robbery in Macon occurred Friday afternoon at Highland Cleaners on North Avenue. In that incident, it was reported that a suspect armed with a gun demanded money from the employee behind the counter of the business.

Over the past week, robberies occurred at the following locations:

  • Nov. 28 - Armed robbery at Advance Auto Parts, located at 3230 Mercer University Dr.
    Nov. 29 - Commercial armed robbery at CVS, located at 1271 Gray Highway.
  • Nov. 30 - Commercial armed robbery at Auto Money Title Pawn, located at 2730 Pio Nono Ave.
  • Nov. 30 - Commercial armed robbery at the Market Place 2, located at 1091 Old Clinton Rd
  • Dec. 1 - Armed robbery at the Dollar General, located at 3824 Pio Nono Ave.
  • Dec. 2 - Commercial armed robbery at Highland Cleaners, located at 691 North Ave.

Jennifer Hightower, who said she frequents the Dollar General on Pio Nono, said she lives nearby. She said that her mother was also in the area and that her purse was snatched from her last night in that same parking lot.

Hightower said that Vamper's explanation as to why more robberies happen during the holiday season makes sense. She said she also assumes that sometimes these criminals don't have the money to buy presents and turn to stealing it from someone else.

Vamper said Hightower's theory is also correct and that sometimes these thieves are just trying to find a way to buy gifts for their loved ones.

Hightower said that knowing that there has been an increase in these types of crimes makes her more cautious. She said that now, she rarely leaves the house except to go shopping occasionally because she is worried about something happening to her during the holiday season.

Vamper said that authorities do not believe the recent robberies are related because of the way that they have occurred. He said that the weapons used and descriptions of the suspects are all different in each case.

He also encouraged shoppers to take extra safety precautions this season in order to protect themselves from theft. He said that if you are going to leave your purse in your car, do not openly hide the purse while in the parking lot of the store because this could signal to someone casing the area that you have valuables in your unattended vehicle.

Vamper also said that if you plan on carrying your wallet around, don't openly carry it in and out of the store. He said that it is wise to keep it in your pocket so it is not a signal that to potential robbers that you have it on your person.

As far as businesses, Vamper encouraged store owners to make sure they have a security camera system and to give authorities any surveillance footage if they do experience a robbery so that they can increase the chances of the suspect being caught.

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