PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - A rash of armed robberies in Pascagoula has police officers on guard. Investigators say thieves have hit several businesses for cash.
Perry Lee, the owner of Wayne Lee's grocery, has been in business since 1945. His store was recently robbed for the very first time.
"It's a risk you take when you have a business. The suspects were arrested, so everything ended good. These guys are going to pay the price for what they did," Lee said.
According to Criminal Investigations Captain Shannon Broom, more than 40 robberies have been reported in Pascagoula this year. He said it seems as if robbers are preying on local businesses.
"Usually businesses, the policy is if they are being robbed to give them what they want. In and out with less resistance," Broom said.
While the economy is weak, Broom doesn't believe that is the main factor for the surge in thefts.
"Folks just don't want to go and get a job, and they would rather steal somebody's stuff. And it won't be tolerated."
The police department is trying to head off future robberies by putting extra officers on the streets.
"When we start seeing a trend develop in an area, we will send these guys in and disrupt that trend," Broom said. "We are trying to encourage these folks to move on somewhere else. We are not going to standby while they commit crimes in our city."
To help protect yourself, Broom recommends buying safety equipment for stores and homes.
"Just make sure you have your security devices in place, have a video system. The public, in general, be aware of your surroundings. Don't walk into a dangerous situation."
Perry Lee says hopefully the crackdown will break up the bad guys' plans.
"Anything the police department can do to help control crime or prevent is a plus," Lee said.