Robberies may force closure of Lawton convenience store

Robberies may force closure of Lawton convenience store-1/20/21

LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) -A Lawton convenience store owner is on the brink of closure following a string of robberies and theft at his store over the past few months.

Since November, The Convenience Store on 11th and Tennessee is out thousands of dollars between being robbed at gunpoint twice, and other thefts.

“When we call police, they are here within a few minutes,” said owner M. Afzal. “They are very good at that. Patrolling is good, but after that, no implementation of law. People have no fear that they will go to jail or they will get caught.”

He says it’s frustrating when he has clear video of the suspects, some of which are repeat offenders at his store, and yet no one has been caught.

“We report only 50 percent, maybe less than that,” said Afzal. “Because we know we will make a report and nothing will happen after that. We call police, police comes, and after that we give them video, after that zero”

Lawton Police Detective Dustin Dye says they look into each and every report they get. But that the process to catch these criminals can be lengthy.

“We’re doing the best we can,” said Det. Dustin Dye. “Obviously it is a process, anytime we get suspect information, as far as name, even very good descriptions of them to where we’re able to piece stuff together, then that’s where that comes in to play as far as what report comes in as far as in line, but yes every report is being looked at. It goes through a process though.”

Afzal says he’s done everything he can to prevent theft at his store, except advising his employees to defend themselves. Something he says they shouldn’t have to do.

“I don’t want to take anyone’s life over here, no gun at the store,” said Afzal. “Because that’s not our job. Our job over here is to give the service. That is law enforcement’s job. They’re the one whose responsible for that.”

But the problem isn’t just when they clear out the registers, it’s the shoplifting too that’s costing his business.

“I’m at the bottom now,” said Afzal. “I’m at the bottom line. I mean if it doesn’t stop, maybe I need to shut down the store. Because it’s difficult. Because people are taking stuff. Putting two or three things in their pockets, and only paying for one thing and going home. I mean how long will this go, until I have to shut the doors. It’s very difficult and very frustrating.”

If you have any information regarding these robberies or thefts, you can submit an anonymous tip to the Crime Stoppers of Southwest Oklahoma, and possibly be eligible for a cash reward. You can call Crime Stoppers with a tip at 580-355-INFO, or use their mobile app.

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