SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A terrifying encounter for a Dollar General employee when a masked man walked into her store, opened fire and demanded money.
“This guy came in wearing a ski mask, white shirt, blue jeans, and with a silver pistol, he came in and demanded money from the register,” Assistant Manager Isabelle Rice said.
The robbery on West Division Street was one of three armed robberies in Springfield Wednesday night. There was also a carjacking and a hold-up at a Kum and Go.
“He decided to shoot the ceiling twice, and then he put his gun to my back, led me to the register,” Rice said. “We complied and gave him the money and he ran off. I did what we were taught, so and no one got hurt.”
Rice said this was the first time she experienced a robbery at the Dollar General on West Division Street.
Springfield Police Department (SPD) Public Affairs Officer Cris Swaters called it an unfortunate coincidence that there were three robberies over the course of a few hours last night. Overall, SPD said robberies are down 33 percent compared to last year.
“Fourth quarter of [last] year, we actually saw an increase in robbery,” Police Chief Paul Williams said in a city council meeting on May 8. “The first quarter of this year, we continued that focus on robbery.”
Williams attributed the decrease to officers and the community.
“Public awareness, education, people being aware of their surroundings and making good choices when you’re out, I think really contributed to that,” Williams said.
Although there was a rash of commercial robberies at the beginning of the year Williams said police worked to turn that around.
“We were able to apprehend some folks that had committed multiple robberies throughout Southwest Missouri, not just in Springfield, took them off the street, put them in jail and dropped those commercial robberies to zero [in March],” Williams said.
There were customers inside the Dollar General was the man robbed the store, but no one was hurt.