A SHOP in Dungannon has been targeted by an armed robber for the third time in just over a year.
In the latest attempt which happened last Monday (October 28) night, a man threatened the female shopkeeper at the Tesco Filling Station at Beechvalley in the town with a knife as she was getting into her car to leave after closing up the shop.
Releasing details of the man’s description, a PSNI spokesperson said the shopkeeper had escaped injury, but was left shocked.
“At around 8pm a female was closing up when a male aged 16-20 years old, slight build, 5’6” in height, approached her as she was in her own vehicle,” said the police spokesperson.
“Armed with a knife, he demanded money. Staff here never carry money so he left empty handed.
“Suspect subsequently ran off into the trees. Obviously the victim is very shocked by what happened.
“Were you about the area at the time and noticed someone matching the description going to or coming from the direction of Tesco?”
The same shop was targeted back in August.
On that occasion a man armed with a knife, walked into the store in broad daylight and ordered staff to take money from the till and place it in a bag.
And in September last year, staff at the Tesco shop were similarly faced with a robber armed with a knife.
Police were alerted and four males were arrested within the minutes of the robbery.
A number of staff at other shops in the area have faced similar ordeals in recent months.
On March 6, this year, two men armed with a knife entered Hughes Bookmakers on Scotch Street and made off with a large sum of money.
A few weeks later (March 21) two masked men, one of whom was armed with a hammer, entered a shop on Milltown Street in Dungannon and stole cigarettes.
And on April 8, two men, armed with a crowbar and a screwdriver, entered a shop on Main Street, Castlecaufield and stole the till.
Independent councillor Barry Monteith expressed his alarm at the ongoing trend in armed robberies.
“People should be entitled to go to their work without facing the threat of serious violence in this way,” said the councillor.
“There has been far too many incidents involving knives and weapons and it needs to stop.
“I think there is also an issue here, where some of the shops may have to look at the issue of lone-working, particularly late at night.”