Robbery leads business owners to build relationship with police

Robbery leads business owners to build relationship with police
December 03
00:00 2015
Photo by Tevin Stinson
Capt. W.S. Weaver, left, and Lt. Mike Cardwell, right, sit down with business owners in the Ogburn Station Corridor to discuss safety tips and a recent robbery that left two wounded by gunfire.

By Tevin Stinson

The Chronicle

Business owners in the Ogburn Station Business corridor are concerned about the safety of their investments after a robbery left two Family Dollar employees injured by gunfire.

The Winston-Salem Police Department (WSPD)  and Ogburn Station business owners have vowed to cultivate their relationship. They met last month, and another meeting has been scheduled for Monday, Dec. 7.

At that time WSPD will have more information on the robbery and security improvements in the area.

According to reports, on Sunday, Nov. 8 two suspects entered the Family Dollar located at 4404 Old Rural Hall Road through the front door. One suspect watched the door while the other proceeded to rob the business while brandishing a handgun.

As employees complied with the demands, one of the suspects fired shots into the store injuring two employees.

Both employees were treated for non-life threatening injuries at a local hospital.

Richard Thomas Little of Winston-Salem was arrested in connection with the robbery. Little is charged with two counts of assault inflicting serious injury and robbery with a dangerous weapon.

Paula McCoy-Anderson, executive director of Neighbors for Better Neighborhoods, helped organize the Nov. 10 meeting to find out what needs to be done to keep her future business, customers, and family safe. McCoy-Anderson and her husband plan to open a produce and country store in the area.

“We are concerned about our investment,” she said. “I wanted to come here today to find out what needs to be done to build security in the area.”

“We are lucky no one was killed during the robbery at Family Dollar. We need assurance that we are safe.”

A number of business investors and community members believe an increase in police presence in the area would prevent robberies from happening.

“I think a greater police presence in this area would really help,” said Napoleon Crowell, founder of Burning Flame Christian Church on Old Rural Hall Road. “With an increased police presence this community will begin to flourish and blossom again.”

Through the 20th century, Ogburn Station was known for housing a number of local businesses, including grocery stores, dry cleaners, restaurants and much more.

After experiencing tough times during the 1970s, in recent years the area has made somewhat of a come back. A number of locally owned businesses have opened in the area, including Essence of Beauty Studio that opened earlier this year.

“We wanted to invest in this area because we know the history behind it,” said Juwon Crowell, co-owner of Essence of Beauty. “We want others to invest in the area as well. That’s why we wanted to come together to make sure everyone is safe.”

After listening to the business owners‘ issues and suggestions, a number of officers mentioned a number of tips that could help keep them safe.

According to Capt. N.V. James, maintaining proper lighting, looking out for suspicious people and keeping doors locked when possible are all things that can prevent robberies.

James also said that building and maintaining the relationship between business owners and the WSPD is crucial to crime prevention in the area.

“We can’t do this alone,” she said. “We need them to be the eyes and ears for us because we can’t be everywhere at one time.”

“The more we communicate, the more we can stay on top of what’s going on.”

Mayor Pro Tempore Vivian Burke applauded the business owners for taking the time to make sure their investments are safe.

“I am so pleased that you have taken the initiative to protect what you have. This is one of our historic areas, and it seems like it is coming alive again,” she said. I have talked to the city manager, and we have pledged ourselves to keep this area safe as well.”

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