Police: Armed thug targets women’s clothing stores

Posted at 12:20 AM, Feb 18, 2012
and last updated 2012-02-19 18:56:04-05

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - A suspect on the run may be responsible for nearly a dozen armed robberies at women’s clothing stores over the past month in Metro Richmond.

A crime expert and former police captain said Friday night that there is an obvious reason why the robber is targeting the stores.

"I have a strong suspicion that why he's hitting these places is because of who works there,” said Steve Neal, a crime expert.  “It's an easier target because of the hours of operation, perhaps, and also the [minimal] likelihood of apprehension or even opposition."

Neal said businesses should protect themselves by installing better surveillance systems or adding another layer of security.

For example, Dress Barn and Catherine’s Plus Sizes have both added more plain clothed armed guards.

"I've never seen one in a Dress Barn anywhere that I've shopped,” said shopper Alvina Klatt.  “And I go there a lot."

Klatt said she thinks the stores are an easy target because their cash registers are in the back, so nobody can see what's going on inside.

Police said the robber, armed with a handgun, has a slender build and always wears a mask.

Additionally, sources said that during the past two hold-ups, customers have been in the store, but that no injuries have been reported. He said workers are doing the right thing by complying with the robber’s demands.

Neal believes local police are comparing notes, trying to catch the masked thug before he strikes again.

“It's only a matter of time before this guy slips up and he's apprehended,” said Neal.

If you think you know who the women’s apparel retail robber is, call Crimestoppers at 804-780-1000.