String of armed robberies continues at Dollar General stores in Marion

Authorities work to ID thieves

OCALA, Fla. – For the seventh time in the past month, armed robbers struck a Dollar General store in Marion County.

The most recent robbery was reported late Wednesday at the Dollar General on West Silver Spring Boulevard in Ocala. The thieves also hit a nearby internet cafe, deputies said.

No injuries were reported, and the Marion County Sheriff's Office continues to investigate whether all the robberies are connected.

In one of the robberies, video surveillance showed a man holding a 9-year-old at gunpoint while others robbed the store.

Customers at the dollar store said they were shaken after learning about the string of robberies.

"It's really scary because next time they could get shot and someone could die," Dane Maxsom said.

"They don't care. They don't care about laws. They just care about themselves," Jerry Pascall said.

Authorities said they have stepped up patrols, and detectives are working to identify the thieves. 

Some shoppers, however, think Dollar General can do more to keep their stores safe.

"Even if it's to hire one guy to sit in the parking lot with a light on the roof just to make customers to feel safe," a shopper said.

Dollar General said it is working with authorities.

"Dollar General serves the Marion County communities by providing its customers with everyday value and convenience through its 38 stores in the county. The safety of our employees and customers is a top priority, and we employ a number of safety and security procedures to prevent, deter and, if necessary, respond to criminal activity in our stores. To protect the integrity of these measures, we do not comment on them specifically.

"As a local business and community stakeholder, we continue to work collaboratively with local law enforcement to reduce crime in our stores and the neighborhoods where we do business," the store said.