Two suspects in custody; Businesses discuss crime prevention

Two suspects in a brazen bank robbery were behind bars Tuesday.

Police officials said Odom Hamm and Cornelius Bell, suspects in the robbery of the First Tennessee Bank inside the Kroger in the Hacks Cross and Winchester area on April 29th were in custody. Police are still searching for Damien Merrit and Edward Davis, two other suspects in the crime.

Meanwhile Tuesday, business leaders from the area held nothing back as they vented their frustrations to police.  They said they want to work with police to keep the thriving area a safe place to shop.

"Believe me, you are my top priority at this time, because your are my number one hot spot," Inspector M.D. Jones of the Memphis Police Department told the group.

While the standing room only crowd appreciated being a priority, the business owners don't like being located inside a hot spot for crime. After five armed robberies recently, they put the Memphis Police Department in the hot seat.

Larry Martin owns a scrapbook shop near Hacks Cross and Winchester. He's been in business for about a year and a half, and he's seen crimes at his store and the rest of the area jump recently.

"If we don't do something about it, its going to get that bad," Martin said.

Memphis police say one reason they've seen a jump in crime at Hacks Cross and Winchester is its central location. It's less than a mile to Germantown, just under five miles up Bill Morris Parkway to Collierville, and short drive to Mississippi, making it easy for criminals to hide in other jurisdictions.

That's why Martin joined other business leaders at Tuesday's meeting. They were told more officers would be patrolling the area, and businesses were urged to keep their eyes open for crime and police informed.

"I feel like we're on the right track of getting this situation in hand before it gets out of control," Jones said.

While there is strength in numbers, Larry Martin was left wondering if enough was being done to make the area safe.