Village Pantry: An easy target for criminals?

Village Pantry sign (Photo courtesy WLFI News)

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Five of the last 13 armed robberies in Lafayette this year have occurred at Village Pantry convenience stores.

The robberies include an armed robbery overnight in the 3600 block of Greenbush Street, but Lafayette police are working to stop these stores and stores like them from being a target for criminals.

Lafayette police records show that since 2009, 75 percent of business robberies occurred at a Village Pantry location. But with help from VP management, they’re working to lower that statistic, according to WISH-TV sister station WLFI News.

“Nobody’s around early in the morning or late at night,” said Lafayette Police Lt. Brad Hayworth. “The foot traffic is low, and there just may be the clerk in the store. That’s probably a big part of it.”

Hayworth said since Jan. 1, five of 13 armed robberies have taken place at Village Pantry’s in Lafayette. Hayworth said a lot of it has to do with the locations being open 24-hours a day.

“The person may be sitting in the area for a little while and sees that nobody is coming or going from the business,” said Hayworth. “If the clerk is there by themselves, that presents an opportunity for the person who’s doing the robbery.”

Although Village Pantry’s seem to be a reoccurring target, Hayworth said it doesn’t mean they are the only target for criminals.

“I don’t think that they are robbed anymore often that any of the other businesses in town,” said Hayworth. “You also have to look at the number of Village Pantry’s in town, compared to other stores.”

However, that hasn’t kept police from working with the stores owners to make sure employees stay safe. Bulletproof glass booths have been installed at two of the Lafayette locations, and Hayworth said the stores keep very little in the registers. Police have also increased patrols and check-in on employees at VP’s and other businesses open overnight.

“We like them to go inside and talk to the clerks and make themselves aware of what is going on in the store and make the clerk more comfortable in reaching out to us if need be,” said Hayworth.

As far as the safety of customers at night, Hayworth said he believes Village Pantry’s are just as safe as any other business.

“Just make sure you’re aware of your surroundings, and who may or may not be in the store at the time,” said Hayworth.

Hayworth says police believe that three of the robberies from this year are related. He asks anyone with information about any of the robberies to call LPD at 765-807-1200 or the WeTip Hotline at 800-78-CRIME.

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