ANDERSON — An employee at a local convenience store has been robbed three times in five months, and her family is concerned the company is not doing enough to ensure her safety.
The woman, who works third shift at the Ricker's convenience store and gas station on North Madison Avenue, declined to comment on the story for employment reasons, but her father, John Cook, and husband, Jaymar Dickerson, both said Ricker's hasn't done enough to improve safety since the incidents.
A Ricker's spokesperson said the company is being proactive in keeping employees safe.
The most recent incident happened Monday at 10:52 p.m., when a man entered the store, physically cornered the woman with a knife and stole cash from the register. Two prior robberies happened in the early morning hours of Nov. 5 and Sept. 17. According to Detective Joel Sandefur of the Anderson Police Department, the Nov. 5 robbery involved a white man with a knife and the Sept. 17 incident involved a black man with a pistol. Each time, the woman was working alone.
Sandefur said police recently arrested DeAundra Patterson, a suspect believed to be responsible for several robberies across the city. It's possible Patterson was responsible for the September robbery, but Sandefur said that hasn't been confirmed.
In the wake of several summer convenience store robberies, Ricker's hired extra security and APD started dedicating extra patrols to gas stations around the city, Sandefur said. He said Ricker's stores have solid security comparable to other convenience stores throughout the state.
"It's a bit of anomaly to have the same person robbed three time," Sandefur said.
Dickerson said there have technically been four incidents involving his wife, the earliest dating back to Feb. 2, 2013, when Jay Crouse, 27, of Anderson robbed a Village Pantry on Cross Street, fled and attempted to rob the Ricker's on Madison shortly after. Police arrested him, and he is currently serving a 10-year sentence. Dickerson said no weapon was involved in that incident, but the effects of each attack have been cumulative on his wife, and each robbery seems to be an escalation.