A recent spike in armed robberies in one county has lawmen teaming up with fast food restaurants to try to stop the crimes. Wednesday night, a Bojangles in Greenville became the fourth Pitt County fast food restaurant robbed in just six days.
Police say they're making progress. They made arrests in the Food Lion robbery this weekend, but robbers continue to target these fast food restaurants.
It was dangerous night for seven employees and a customer inside the Bojangles on South Memorial Drive in Greenville as the chain became the latest target of armed robbers Wednesday night. Thursday it was business as usual.
"It's getting terrible, small businesses, they can't make it. These hoodlums coming in and stealing and threatening them." said Westhaven subdivision resident Mary George.
Mary George lives in the Westhaven neighborhood behind the restaurant. The robbers were last seen driving down her road. That's a scary thought for George, but she says she feels worse for those inside the restaurant.
"I do feel sorry for the workers who are constantly under pressure and worried about whether they're going to get home that night from work." said George
Those fears are growing as the number of these fast food robberies grows. The Bojangles off Highway 264 in Farmville, hit Monday. The KFC/Long John Silvers on Greenville Blvd. Friday and the Popeye's on Memorial Drive last Thursday. Police investigators are comparing each case for similarities.
"Without giving up too much of the investigative facts that they've gathered. There are some things that are related in some of the cases." said Greenville Police Sergeant Carlton Williams.
He says lawmen are reaching out to the restaurants to prevent these crimes, and catch those responsible - welcome news for George and her neighbors.
"I don't know what we're going to do, but certainly I wish they would clamp down on them." said George
The police department and Pitt County Sheriff's Office offer a robbery prevention and awareness course to businesses.Sgt. Williams says they're tailored to the business and include a mock robbery.
Sgt. Williams says one of the tips they share with employees is to comply with the robbers and don't be a hero. He says that's why none of the recent armed robberies have ended with violence.