RICHLAND, MS (WLBT) - Hispanic businesses are being targeted by armed robbers in Richland. Police said the thieves are Hispanic and now authorities need the public's help to track them down.
La Guadeloupe on Scarbrough Street was the first target. This exclusive surveillance video from October 4th, 2010 shows the armed robber enter the store with a handgun drawn. He is covered head to torso in black leaving holes only for his eyes. The thief stayed eight minutes and leaves with cash in hand. The store was targeted again a month later.
"(They) came from behind the restaurant, behind this building and ran in here with their guns and held my cashier at gunpoint," said co-owner of Discoteca San Miguel Allende Jennifer Negrete. Two masked thieves held up her store two weeks ago. It is located on Highway 49 about a half mile from La Guadeloupe. Negrete described them as Hispanic men in their late teens to early twenties's.
"I would like to see them arrested," said Negrete.
So far police have no solid leads. Negrete's husband, Miguel, said some people in the Hispanic community are afraid to share what they know.
"Sometime the community doesn't like to speak or go to the police which is sometimes they are scared," said Miguel Negrete.
"What we're asking is for the community to come forward and give us any leads they can," said Richland Police Chief Investigator Lt. Aaron Hirschfield.
Richland Police have held a meeting at the city's community center and took out an ad in La Noticia asking for information. Investigators believe these same armed robbers are also going after Hispanic businesses in surrounding cities.
"We are looking into those leads and tie those in with ours as well," said Lt. Hirschfield.
Business owners hope the masked men are caught before the robberies turn violent.
"I know they are going to be caught for sure," said Miguel Negrete.
Richland Police are offering a reward of $500 to anyone with information that leads to an arrest and conviction. Call Richland Police at (601) 420-1573.
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