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Number of armed robberies increases around holiday

December 20, 2006|by ERIN JULIUS

Early darkness, bulky clothes and crowded stores make it easy for robbers during the holiday season, according to Hagerstown Police Chief Art Smith.

Hagerstown and Washington County have experienced a rash of armed robberies in the past two weeks.

Armed robberies are more common during the holiday shopping season, Smith said.

Three armed robberies occurred Monday in Hagerstown.

At about 3 p.m., a man approached a cashier at the Hallmark store on Maryland Avenue and informed the cashier that he had a gun. Two men showed a handgun during a robbery at United Petroleum that evening, and just before 10 p.m., two men in dark clothing showed a handgun during a robbery at Roxy's Liquors.

Four factors play into the high number of armed robberies during the holiday season, said Smith.

Darkness falls early, which helps robbers get away.

"People who do this enjoy the darkness," he said.

More people are out shopping during the holidays and stores have more cash on hand. Both are factors in the higher number of armed robberies. Police see an increase in both street robberies and store robberies, he said.

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The heavy clothing people wear in cooler temperatures makes it easier to conceal weapons, Smith said.

He doesn't think people commit the robberies because they need money for the holidays, he said.

"It's about opportunity," Smith said.




Robberies box



· Dec. 9, 4:30 p.m. - Armed robbery, 830 W. Franklin St., Hagerstown Trust ATM.

· Dec. 13, 3:58 a.m. - Armed robbery, 1101 Dual Highway, Quality Inn.

· Dec. 13, 3:20 p.m. - Armed robbery, North End Liquors in Hancock.

· Dec. 13, 7:33 p.m. - Armed robbery, 761 E. Wilson Blvd., Dollar General Store.

· Dec. 13, 7:52 p.m. - Armed robbery, 190 Railway Lane, Bob Evans Restaurant.

· Monday, 3:07 p.m. - Robbery, Hallmark store, Maryland Avenue. Suspect said he had a gun.

· Monday, 5:05 p.m. - Armed robbery, United Petroleum.

· Monday, 9:52 p.m. - Armed robbery, Roxy's Liquors.

· Tuesday, 12:30 p.m. - Attempted armed robbery, 615 Dual Highway, Smoker Friendly.

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