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Columbia police investigate four business robberies in four days

There have been no arrests as of Tuesday night in four armed robberies at four different Columbia businesses.

ABC 17 News talked with the four businesses to find out more details on what happened.

On Friday morning, an employee and customer at the Budget Host Inn were bound with duct tape when two men, at least one wearing a mask, came in with guns and demanded money.

Then, roughly 12 hours later, an armed, masked man went into the Denny’s, fired off a shot and demanded money.

Then Sunday night, the Jimmy John’s on Rangeline was hit. Three masked men pointed a gun at an employee and demanded money.

And finally, Monday night around eight, the We B Smokin’ shop on Bernadette Drive was robbed.

The manager of the shop said his employee and a customer were the two victims.

“Two men came through the front door, tied him and another customer up in the back and made off with the money and some cigarettes,” said Alec Stanley, the manager of We B Smokin’. “They zip tied his hands and feet, duct taped his feet and zip tied the customer as well.”

Stanley said after the robbery, he’s considering some changes.

“I don’t know that I want to stay open as late,” he said. “We may start closing early or locking the doors and making people come through the drive-thru.”

Latisha Stroer with the Columbia Police Department said there are things they encourage businesses to do if they find themselves the target of a robbery.

“Above all else, your safety is number one, so we would rather you give the money than for something bad to happen to you,” she said. “Make as many money drops in the safe as possible, that way you don’t have a lot of cash on hand.”

Stanley said he’s glad no one was hurt, but still has some worries.

“This is just a cash grab and it worries me that this is going to inspire more people to think that this is how you do things,” he said. “And that’s just not how I was brought up to believe you make your living, knocking over local businesses.”

Police also said as a safety precaution, businesses should have good lighting both inside and outside of the building.

They also said to make sure you can easily see in and out of your windows so that it’s easy to see if something is wrong.

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