Police in Joplin are investigating an armed robbery that they say happened Friday night. Police say what makes this case so unique is that it appears to be random.
Police say the armed robbery happened at about 9:30 Friday night. According to police, a woman says she was sitting in her car at a parking lot at Ross Dress For Less, when a woman walked up to her and asked for a cigarette. The woman says while she was reaching for one, a man---who was with the female suspect---got out of a blue minivan, pointed a gun at the victim, and demanded her wallet.
Police say the two suspects fled in the van.
Police are not releasing details of the suspects, only saying there is an active search. Police won't say if there were security cameras in the parking lot, citing the ongoing investigation.
"According to the investigation, there are multiple leads we are following-up on. But I can't tell you if there are witnesses to this crime or not. My recommendation would be to be aware of your surroundings. This type of thing is never preventable," says Corporal Luke Stahl with the Joplin Police Department.
Joplin police don't believe at this time that this armed robbery is connected to any other robberies.
Police remind people it's a good idea to make sure you have someone with you in parking lots, especially at night time.
"It's the same, I would equate it to running. You hear all the time, don't go running by yourself. Same principle. It's easier to stay aware of your surroundings, and you make yourself a harder target with multiple people," says Stahl.
"Property is not near as valuable as your life. If somebody is in a similar situation, I would always encourage them to comply. Do exactly as they say, and let them have whatever they want to take, because property is not worth your life," says Stahl.
Stahl says during an armed robbery, you should comply even if you're armed.
Police say no one was injured during this crime.
Joplin police say there have been 30 robberies so far this year, and there were 85 robberies last year. This includes first degree, second degree, and pharmaceutical robberies.
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