Citizens on high alert following three strong-armed robberies

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Whiteland and New Whiteland detectives are investigating three robberies that happened within a month. The latest was reported Friday.

Early Friday morning, the Circle K off U.S. 31 and Tracy Road was robbed. A man walked into the store, pointed a gun at a customer who had walked into the store after him. He then forced the customer to the counter and demanded money. Then, he forced the customer into the victim’s car and made him drive to Indianapolis. The suspect got out of the car near Interstate 70 and Harding Street.

“It scared me, you know, ’cause we’re a small town (and) stuff like this doesn’t happen here,” Lori Potter said.

Potter is the owner of Tan Worx. The salon is located near Circle K.

“(I am a) small business owner and I worry about my employees and their safety,” Potter said.

The clerk and the customer are okay. Meanwhile, New Whiteland authorities continue to search for the suspect.

“Whenever you see something like that or you hear about it, you think ‘wow’. They could come here and do the same thing to us,” Ed Ward said.

Ward is the owner of the Tracy Plaza Barber Shop. His business is close to Circle K too. Several years ago, his business was broken into. He said he is not worried about the recent crimes.

“Make no mistake, it’s not just isolated to this town. It’s about everywhere,” Ward said.

Detectives called the robbery a random crime.

They are investigating two additional robberies, which happened across the street from each other. These two robberies are believed to be connected. In both cases, a man is accused of punching an employee in the face. The Dollar General in New Whiteland was robbed first at 6:30 a.m. on Feb. 25. The second strong armed robbery happened March 8 at 5 a.m. at the Swifty Gas Station.

Immediately after those two robberies, Potter said a police officer gave her a flyer with details about the crimes. Potter was told more officers would patrol the area.

“Usually, the police come by in the evening and keep (their) eyes on the place,” Potter said.

Detectives said these three violent crimes are unusual for these two towns.

“I’ve talked to police and they said if I ever have a question or fear to give (them) a call and they’ll come over,” Ward said.

If you have any information about the whereabouts of both men, contact Whiteland Police at (317) 535-8100 or New Whiteland Police at (317) 535-9781.

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