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Convenience store owners say ‘robbery season’ has arrived following recent hold-ups

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BELLEVILLE, Ill. – While you may call this the holiday season, folks who operate convenience stores call it the robbery season. Nine convenience stores were robbed in three metro east areas in less than two weeks.

Police detectives want you to take a close look at two suspects. They want you to notice their shoes, the handkerchiefs covering their faces, and the hoodies they are wearing.

There were three robberies overnight. Photos show the suspects armed with a semi-automatic pistol. Police were not sure if they were working together. Police in Belleville and Swansea and St. Clair County sheriff’s deputies were investigating.

“I just addressed all our employees yesterday and said robbery season has arrived,” said Rob Forsyth, president of MotoMart.

Forsyth’s family owns about 80 MotoMart stores. He said on average, only three of all those stores are robbed each year. He said that’s well below the national average.

His stores were not among the nine recently robbed.

“We work tirelessly at deterring robberies and knowing how to respond when and if they do occur,” Forsyth said.

He believes his stores have security systems that resemble a Las Vegas casino. His company spends time educating employees.

“Nothing scares me about working here; not even overnights,” said Lisa Toombs, who’s worked at MotoMart for 20 years. “I feel really comfortable here. I have no problems.”

Security cameras are everywhere and they don’t keep a lot of money in the cash registers. Most of the money goes into a safe that employees cannot open.

Forsyth’s goal is to make his businesses the last place thieves want to try and rob.

“You have to make the risk at pulling off a robbery at our stores—a high risk—and you have to make the reward a very low paltry reward,” he said.

So far, no shots have been fired and no one has been hurt in the nine reported robberies. Police want to catch the suspects before someone is injured.

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