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Business Owners Increase Security after Robberies

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Crime isn't letting up in one Luzerne County community.

The Turkey Hill store on Fifteenth and Alter streets in Hazleton has been hit by robbers three times in less than two weeks.

There have been a dozen robberies in the city since the beginning of December.

As a result of the robberies, business owners are starting to take matters into their own hands and even some customers worry about the safety of the employees.

"I guess they have to work but they are putting their lives at risk," said Roseann Herness of Freeland.

Across the street from the Turkey Hill is Tarone's Market. The store was robbed in November by a man with a knife. Now, bottles of mace sit just a few feet from the cashier. The owner has also installed security cameras since the November robbery.

"Best solution is to be a little more alert to what comes in. You can have cameras put in the store and stuff like that usually they will come in masked and you can`t identify them," said store owner Bobby Tarone.

In many of the recent robberies police are now investigating, the robbers used hoods to cover their faces. Some business owners in Hazleton have a new policy that ban people from wearing hoods inside their stores.

"We did that last week after I guess after the second or third one. We figured if we don`t know who you are at least if we can see your face. If they are willing to take it down they are not going to do anything," said Michael Lagana, owner of Groceries Plus on Vine Street.

Some customers said robbers will not follow the rules.

"I think if they want to do it they`re just gonna do it. Come storm in anyway with their hoods and mask and do what they gotta do or they may start using different disguises than the hoods," said John Pavlichko of Hazle Township.

Hazleton police would not comment on whether the crimes are related, or if they will be increasing patrols.