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Detectives working rash of burglaries

Detectives continue to investigate last week’s robberies of a Rich Oil station in Ironton and a Speedway in Burlington, examing witness statements and other evidence in search of details that could lead them to prevent future robberies.

Friday, December 01, 2000

Detectives continue to investigate last week’s robberies of a Rich Oil station in Ironton and a Speedway in Burlington, examing witness statements and other evidence in search of details that could lead them to prevent future robberies.

Three white males entered the Rich Oil gas station on the corner of Third and Monroe streets Nov. 20, demanded money from the attendant and then maced her before leaving on foot, the Ironton Police Department reported.

In a separate incident just three days later, two white males entered the Speedway gas station on Wal-Mart Way in Burlington, demanded money from the cashier and left the scene on foot. One of the suspects then hit the employee in the head with what she believed to be the butt of his gun, the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department reported.

During both robberies, the suspects involved have been of average height and at least one person in each incident carried a "blue steel gun," sheriff’s department detective Richard Holland said.

"We can’t really say, at this point, they are related," Holland said. "We believe there may be some resemblance between the taller of the two suspects involved in Burlington and the taller of the three involved in Ironton."

Investigators have been unable to confirm a similarity, though, he added.

The assault on cashiers working during each of the two robberies has sent detectives back to their offices scratching their heads.

"In Burlington, the victim did everything they asked her to do but why she was hit, we can’t explain," Holland said.

"From what I understand, the same thing occurred during the incident in Ironton. The victim did everything she was asked to do and they maced her. Usually in the past, we’ve not had an assault on the victim."

During Holland’s 10 years as an investigator, he said he could only recall one incident involving an assault, which was during the robbery of a gas station in Rome more than two years ago.

"The victim in that case was maced, also," he said.

Holland said the holiday season normally poses a threat for the small business industry.

"From Thanksgiving to Christmas – in this area and other areas – we’re going to be hit with robberies," he said. "We hope it doesn’t happen, but it’s the holiday season, people get short on money for whatever reason and, unfortunately, they resort the wrong way. I’ve been here 13 1/2 years and I’ve seen it virtually every year I’ve been here."

In the meantime, police officials can only warn other businesses in the county to stay alert.

"If they come in and they are going to hit the place, do what they say and don’t make them mad," Holland said. "You can replace money, but you can’t replace a life. Do what they say and try not to agitate them."