Robbery at Tonawanda 7-Eleven is latest in string of convenience store robberies

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(Correction: An earlier version of this story mentioned a tweet that was incorrectly attributed to Town of Tonawanda police. The error has been corrected.)

TOWN OF TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WIVB) – Town of Tonawanda Police are investigating an armed robbery at the 7-Eleven near Lincoln Park over the weekend.

It happened a short distance from another 7-Eleven hold-up, and is the latest in a rash of store robberies at local convenience stores.

Convenience stores are frequent targets for criminals looking for a quick score in cash, and authorities say it is often to feed a drug habit.

That is ironic because convenience stores are generally well-equipped with security cameras to help police catch the suspects.

Town of Tonawanda Police say the latest holdup happened Sunday night. The suspect pulled a gun and made off with about $50 cash. Just a week earlier, a 7-Eleven on Brighton Road was targeted by a man who made off with an unknown quantity of cigarettes, without showing a weapon.

Deputy Buffalo Police Commissioner Joe Gramaglia told us these crimes are usually about a quick fix.

“I think typically they are looking for a way to grab some quick cash, or if they are going to grab lottery tickets, or cigarettes like you said – something that they can easily resell – cigarettes are easily resalable,” said Gramaglia. “They can look to make a quick profit on that. Typically what you are going to see in these individuals is that all roads lead back to some sort of substance abuse problem.”

In just the last four months, there have been more than a dozen convenience store robberies across Western New York. In addition to the two 7-Elevens in Tonawanda, police charged a Buffalo man with robbing a 7-Eleven on Delaware Avenue twice in three days.

Wellsville arrested two people in connection with three holdups of the same 7-Eleven within a week.

Deputy Commissioner Gramaglia says Buffalo police charged a Buffalo man with robbing convenience stores and other cash-heavy businesses over the summer. He confessed to being a one-man crime wave.

“He had committed a series of robberies at various locations, including a 7-Eleven, a liquor store, a Tim Horton’s and then he attempted a Tim Horton’s and that is when our officers were able to take him into custody,” Gramaglia said.

Studies have shown that a convenience store clerk has one of the most hazardous jobs in America’s workforce, and unfortunately there have been two holdups in our area recently that ended in tragedy.

Al Vaughters is an award-winning investigative reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 1994. See more of his work here. To submit a Call 4 Action, click here.

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