Uzi-armed trio robs Mt. Pleasant grocery store; Residents on alert

Published: Jul. 26, 2011 at 3:54 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 27, 2011 at 12:30 PM EDT
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MT. PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) - Employees of the Piggly Wiggly in Seaside Farms were held up at gunpoint Monday night, but the suspects didn't use any gun, they charged the store with an Uzi. The compact machine gun was used in the third grocery store robbery in Mt. Pleasant during the past month.

Customers and business owners are taking precautions as Mt. Pleasant police continue to investigate the three robberies. Police say the robberies are similar, but they haven't confirmed if they are related.

The Harris Teeter store on Highway 17 was robbed June 26 and the Food Lion on Longpoint Road was robbed June 24.

"I didn't think anything about coming in at 10 p.m.," said customer Riki Jones.

Jones has lived in the Seaside Farms Community in Mt. Pleasant for 15 years and she says she feels safe here, safe enough to go grocery shopping at 10 p.m. Not anymore.

"I'll think twice now before I stop here after work," she said.

The Piggly Wiggly just off the Isle of Palms Connector was robbed at gunpoint by three men. One had a revolver and another has an Uzi.

Dee Hatchell, who works at the liquor store next to Piggly Wiggly, says the robbery has made him more aware of his surroundings and more protective of his business. He says he'll be more aware of his surroundings when closing at night and wants employees to work in pairs.

"It's crazy what happened," Mitchell said.

Hatchell also owns a liquor store on Longpoint Road, right next to the Food Lion that was robbed last month. He says he chose to open businesses in Mt. Pleasant because it has a reputation of being a safe area, but now he is dealing with armed robberies happening around both of his stores.

Customers say it makes them remember that crime can happen anywhere.

"It can happen anywhere. It makes you think it doesn't matter where you are, you're not Immune to burglaries or robberies," Jones said.

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