Southaven store robbery reminder to stay vigilant during holidays

SOUTHAVEN, MS - (WMC-TV) – For some people, shopping during the holidays can be one of the safest times of year. But one Mid-South store became the victim of a Christmas grinch!

The pricey new SKYCOP cameras didn't get a good look at this robbery because police say the suspects left through the back.

Patrols have more of a presence here, but this incident is a reminder for shoppers and employees to always take a look around you in the busy days ahead.

It wasn't very busy Wednesday morning when a Finish Line employee was opening up at the mall in Southaven. A man came up behind her.

"That individual closed in on her pretty quickly and produced a handgun," said Southaven Police Lt. Mark Little.

Forced inside, the man took money and expensive shoes with help from another armed suspect that police believe was waiting to be let in through the back door, likely where they left after duct taping the employee's hands and feet.

"They had to do their homework to know that person was going to get there and they probably didn't target her, but they just targeted the opening person," Little said.

The employee was unharmed and escaped to get help. But with big crowds expected for the next several days, investigators say it's a reminder to look around you.

Tim Mayfield is among the last minute shoppers and doesn't take safety for granted.

"They prey on anybody," he said. "Sometimes you feel secure because there's maybe police officers around or there may be security cameras or stuff like that, but it depends on you. You always have to be aware of your surroundings."

For store employees, police say avoid getting into patterns when opening and closing, and if possible, park in different spots. Shoppers should keep their doors locked and valuables out of plain view.

Southaven Police say SKYCOP did capture video from the front of the store that they are reviewing. Already today I've seen multiple officers patrolling. That increased presence will continue through the holidays.

Copyright 2012 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.