Investigation into robberies in Pine Bluff continuing

Pine Bluff police are continuing their investigation into two armed robberies Monday night, the latest in a series of robberies targeting convenience stores and discount stores.

Lt. David Price said Tuesday there are some similarities in the incidents and detectives are attempting to locate the people involved.

During the monthly Coffee with the Chiefs program Tuesday morning, Chief Jeff Hubanks said robberies in the city limits increased last month compared to November 2012 and said “we’re working on it.”

Just after 8 p.m. Monday, police were called to the Dollar General at 1414 E. Harding Ave., where a clerk told officers she was down an aisle when she heard the front door open and saw two black males wearing all black with black face masks. One of the men had a black bag over his hand appeared to have a gun under the bag.

According to the police report, one of the men yelled at the clerk to give them “all the (expletive) money,” and the clerk said she ran to the back of the store.

When the clerk and another employee returned to the front, the men were gone and so were two cash registers. An undisclosed amount of money was taken.

Less than an hour later, police responded to the Valero at 2317 W. 28th Ave., where there was a report of a possible robbery was in progress.

According to the police report, a clerk said two black males wearing all black with masks entered the store and while one of the men held a gun on the clerk, the other walked behind the counter and grabbed cash from the register.

The two men left the store running west toward a wooded area, the report said.

Previously, the Family Dollar Store on Blake Street was robbed on Friday, Nov. 22, by suspects wearing what were described as Halloween masks and armed with handguns and the Alon gas station was robbed on Saturday, Nov. 23, by suspects who were described similarly by witnesses.

Price has said previously that officers have been instructed to keep a close eye on businesses in their assigned zones. The department’s Holiday Patrol, which includes additional officers in both marked and unmarked units patrolling shopping areas until Christmas, has already begun.

Anyone with information about the suspects in these or any of the other robberies that have been reported should contact the Detective Division at 730-2090 or the dispatch center at 541-5300 and all calls will be kept confidential.