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Robbers at large after Boone County stores hit

The robber or robbers who held up two Boone County convenience stores at gunpoint over the weekend were still on the loose Monday.

The first robbery happened at about 8 a.m. Saturday at the Leatherwood Hills Little General store at 1641 W. Route K.

Another robbery took place at about 3 a.m. Sunday at the Petro Mart at 5481 E. St. Charles Road.

Boone County Sheriff’s Department Detective Tom O’Sullivan said he does not know whether the two robberies are related. However, the suspect descriptions are similar.

According to a news release from the sheriff’s department, both robbers were described as men wearing a bandana and a hooded sweatshirt and carrying a pistol.

The robber demanded cash in each incident.

“They were both seen running on foot from the store,” O’Sullivan said.

O’Sullivan said no one was hurt but both clerks were shaken up. He said it is likely the robbers got into a vehicle at some point but kept it away from the store to avoid having it show up on surveillance cameras.

He said convenience stores are an easy target for robbers, especially at times such as early Sunday.

“Three o’clock in the morning … there isn’t a whole lot of staff in the store and less people are out,” O’Sullivan said.

O’Sullivan said the 8 a.m. Saturday robbery happened at an unusual time for robberies, but he said Leatherwood Hills Little General is not located in a densely populated area.

O’Sullivan said that he could not release the amount of money taken.

“We do not want to encourage this type of behavior,” O’Sullivan said.

According to Uniform Crime Reporting numbers, robberies are down this year in Boone County and Columbia.

In 2017, there were 129 reported robberies and 54 so far in 2018.

Adam Duncan, an instructor with the University of Missouri’s Law Enforcement Training Institute, said robbers typically don’t get much money from knocking over a convenience store.

Duncan said people often commit these crimes to support a habit.

“Drug habit, alcohol habit or a lifestyle habit,” Duncan said.

O’Sullivan said sheriff’s department investigators are continuing to look at store video, teaming up with other law enforcement agencies and working with the public to see if anyone recognizes the robbers.

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