PALATKA, Fla. - Palatka police are asking for the public's help in tracking down who they believe to be multiple people responsible for robbing businesses in the area.
Investigators say six stores have been robbed at gunpoint within the last month. Four are convenient stores, one is a liquor store and one is a food store.
At a Food Mart off U.S. Highway 17 North, one or two men wearing mostly black clothes and a mask went in with a gun, demanded money and left. In two of the robberies, the clerks were hurt.
Surveillance video shows a Mobil convenience store off Reid Street being robbed around 8:30 p.m. Dec. 12. The robbery turned violent when one of the robbers wearing a mask hit the clerk on the back of the head with the cash drawer while she was on the ground.
And a manger who was robbed at a local liquor store said the robber hit her multiple times in the head with the gun.
"It's scary around here," said one business owner whose store was robbed. "After 7 (p.m.) it's dark and there's no other businesses, so when you're alone it's scary. So now I leave early. I started closing at 6:30 (p.m.), where before i would go to 8 (p.m.)."
That Palatka business owner wants to remain anonymous because he, along with many others, are scared after his store was robbed Dec. 21. The Palatka Police Department says all six robberies happened within miles of each other. They think there are multiple people involved and that some of the incidents are related.
In four of the robberies, the robber is described as a black man about 6 feet tall, wearing all black with a semiautomatic handgun.
"In a couple of them, somebody might recognize their voice or their mannerisms of the suspect," Asst. Chief of Police James Griffith said. "I know on the one we did solve from a few weeks back that's unrelated, we got the info from some people based on they heard the voice of the suspect when talking to the clerk."
Police say no arrests have been made in any of these cases, but they hope tips continue to come in. One business owner said he hopes these robberies come to an end soon.
"I hope they can catch them, at least, because this is getting way out of hand," he said. "In one month, most of the stores in town have been hit and it's about the same time of day."
To view surveillance videos of some of the robberies, go to the Palatka Police Department's Facebook page.
If you have any information for police, call 386-329-0170. You could be eligible for a cash reward.
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