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The original item was published from 12/15/2011 2:00:38 PM to 12/19/2011 10:20:16 AM.

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Fort Morgan Police Department News

Posted on: December 15, 2011

[ARCHIVED] Press Release

Police investigating Robbery of Downtown Store
Woman fled with cash. Fort Morgan Police asking for tips on suspects.

The Fort Morgan Police Department is asking members of the public to come forward with any information they may have regarding the robbery of a store on Main Street on Wednesday evening.

Police responded to a call of a robbery that occurred at The Oak Tree, 313 Main Street, at approximately 5:00 p.m. Wednesday.

Police are looking for a woman who walked into the store and allegedly spent several minutes looking at merchandise. The woman then went to the cash register, as if to purchase an item, and handed a written note to the sales clerk. The note said the woman had a gun, demanded money from the register and threatened to cause the clerk harm if she didn’t comply.

The woman also said there was a male party with her waiting outside with a weapon.

The woman fled through the front door with cash and was seen running southbound to Kiowa Avenue and then west toward Ensign Street. The woman is described as a white female between 30 and 40 years of age, with blonde hair and a slim build, wearing a powder-blue jacket with the hood covering her head.

Anyone with any information on this crime of the possible suspects is urged to contact the police department at (970) 867-5678, or call Crime Stoppers at (970) 542-3411 and remain anonymous.

Although a weapon wasn't displayed in this robbery, it should be considered a serious and potentially dangerous crime, said Fort Morgan Police Chief Keith Kuretich. A person who is confronted by a suspect should never put themselves in harm’s way by not complying, the chief said.

“Employee and customer safety is paramount,” Kuretich said.

Kuretich offered a number of prevention tips for local retail stores and others, and said both workers and customers should be aware of this information:

? Assess pedestrian activity - In general, high-activity areas are less prone to robberies. Assess the quantity and type of traffic, times of high and low activity and the potential for increasing traffic and activity. It would be to a store’s advantage to have additional employees and a telephone nearby for employees to report suspicious activity away from view of the suspect.
? Watch for suspicious activity - Keep alert and know what is happening inside and outside of your business. Watch for loiterers and politely ask them to leave. Don’t be afraid to call 911 when you see suspicious activity. Be aware of cars parked across the street or off to one side of the parking lot.
? Make sure there is good visibility and lighting - It is important to provide as much visibility as possible into your store from the street and to provide visibility from the inside of the store to the outside, both day and night. The important point is that there should be visibility from the register area to the street. Eliminate any dark areas and utilize photo sensors to ensure lights come on at night. Pedestrians, as well as cruising patrol cars, should have clear visibility into the store both during the day and especially at night. For instance, shrubs or trees sometimes obstruct the path of a floodlight. Sometimes trees cast shadows over your lot at different times of the year. Look for such obstacles in your lot.
? Building and parking lot security - Some retail store operators use some security measures which could slow a robber’s escape. Such measures could deter a robbery as well. For instance, some stores fence their premises on three sides to slow a robber escaping around the side of the store. Some stores allow parking only directly in front of their stores, so an escape vehicle would have to be parked directly in front of the store. Some stores have just one exit out of the parking lot.
? Keep low amounts of cash in the register - Large amounts of cash and its availability are attractive to robbers. The robber will know large amounts of cash are available if he sees large bills in the register or sees the clerk putting large bills into the register. Establish and enforce policies that limit the maximum amount of money in the cash register to a certain dollar amount. No more cash should be available than is absolutely necessary to meet customer transactions. Make sure large bills are dropped and not visible at the register. To enforce this policy, each store needs a deposit safe so that employees can put away cash as it accumulates. Installing a safe in your store also decreases the likelihood of a holdup since word will get out that there is little cash to be obtained at your stores. Any safe you purchase should be bolted to the floor. Serious consideration should be given by management to the purchase and installation of a cash dispensing safe, which will facilitate frequent drops of cash stripped from the cash register, and recovery of change as needed.
? Use robbery deterrence signage - Robbery deterrence signage, stickers, decals, etc. are available to let customers and potential robbers know what a store is doing to deter robbery. For instance, placing a height measure by an exit door helps witnesses determine the height of a fleeing robber. Remember, whatever signage you have in place, make sure it is telling a true story. Do not post signage which is not true.
? Install security devices - All security measures and procedures should be up front and not a secret. That means no dummy cameras, fake alarm systems, or false signs indicating security measures that are not actually in practice or place. If criminals think you are lying about one aspect of your store security, they will think you are lying about others, such as not having access to certain cash levels. This could lead to violence. Also, other deterrence measures should be in place before a company invests in sophisticated security equipment. There is not conclusive evidence that video surveillance equipment has functioned as an effective deterrent to armed robbery. Install appropriate systems consistent with the robbery risk of the area. Contact your local law enforcement for records on the robbery risk of your area.
? Train your employees and management - No matter how safe the inside and outside of the store can be, managers and employees must put robbery deterrence rules into effect. Training is important so an employee can react calmly and quickly in the event of a robbery. Training your personnel and periodically refreshing them on robbery deterrence procedures can curb robbery. It also demonstrates your concern for employees and customers. Training and follow-up will be the key to your program’s success. Train your employees periodically.
? Bank deposit & cash counting - Establish and enforce robbery deterrence procedures for counting the cash in the register and for transporting cash receipts to the bank. Be discreet when counting large amounts of cash or preparing a bank deposit. It is best to do that when there are no customers, or let someone else handle the register so the employee can prepare the deposits in the back room. Make frequent bank deposits and vary the time of the day when you make deposits. Hide the money when going to the bank and vary the method of concealment. For instance put the cash in a paper lunch bag, a plastic sandwich container, a knapsack, an empty rock salt bag, etc. Do not be obvious about going to the bank. Do not wear your uniform, apron, or name tag to the bank. Do not deposit at night if possible. If you have to deposit at night, consider having an employee drive your car to the front of the store. If you have a lot of money to deposit, consider calling a Fort Morgan police officer and arrange an escort to the bank.
? Police protection - Work with your local police department to obtain planned and unplanned visits. During the holiday season, officers will try and get around more frequently, but be certain to contact them if there are times of the day you would prefer to have them check more regularly.

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