Police investigate Fast Lane robbery

Police attribute the increase in robberies to the recession.

On Tuesday, a masked man robbed Fast Lane on West Boulevard.

According to a news release, Columbia Police Department officers were dispatched to an armed robbery at 9:35 p.m.

“The investigation revealed (that) a black male entered the store, displayed a handgun and took an undisclosed amount of money,” the news release stated. “The suspect ran east from the business. There was one customer and two clerks inside the store at the time of the robbery. No one was injured.”

The suspect is described as short in stature and last seen wearing shorts, a T-shirt and a mask.

CPD Spokeswoman Latisha Stroer said she believes that there was an increase in robberies this summer but has not looked at the numbers from previous years to be sure. She lists the recession and the heat as reasons for the increase.

“I would say the economy would have something to do with it,” she said. “Some people would say that heat would have something to do with it, but I think that’s mainly assault with the heat. But I’d say the economy has a lot to do with it.”

Stroer said there has been an increase in other crimes during the summer.

“We’ve had shots fired, we’ve had bank robberies, we’ve had armed robberies, we’ve had a lot of deaths from motor vehicles," she said. "I can’t just say it's armed robberies."

Stroer said armed robberies are not uncommon in Columbia, and that the video surveillance from Fast Lane has not been released because the man had a mask on. There have been no other updates on the suspect.

CPD is asking anyone with information to contact the department or Crime Stoppers at 875-TIPS to remain anonymous.

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