Authorities warn local businesses amid series of similar armed robberies

Police lights (WLUK image)

(WLUK) -- Authorities in Northeast Wisconsin are asking business owners and employees to be vigilant as the area has seen an increase of similar robberies recently.

The Brown County Sheriff's Office says it has had eight robberies reported in December at the following businesses:

  • Dec. 5: Cousins Subs, 2583 W. Mason Street
  • Dec. 10: Subway, 1641 Commanche Ave (Ashwaubenon)
  • Dec. 11: Shell Gas Station, 841 Main Ave (De Pere)
  • Dec. 11: Dollar General, 1152 S. Military Ave
  • Dec. 18: Burger King, 1005 S. Military Ave
  • Dec. 21: Subway, 1007 W. Mason Street
  • Dec. 26: Hardees, 2611 W. Mason Street
  • Dec. 27: Subway, 2265 University Avenue

In all of the robberies, the suspect's description is male, wearing dark clothing and a mask covering his face and showing a knife. No one was injured in the robberies.

On Dec. 27, the Dollar General on W. Wisconsin Avenue in Appleton was robbed. No one was injured but the suspect was armed with a knife. The suspect in that robbery is described as a man in his late teens or early twenties, approximately 5'8'' to 5'10'' tall with a slim to average build. The suspect was wearing a dark-colored jacket and a dark-colored hat at the time of the robbery.

Authorities say it's important for employees to take note of their surroundings. If someone looks out of place or you sense suspicious activity, do not hesitate to report to police right away.

Kate Manning with the Oshkosh Police department told FOX 11, "We saw the similarities and what was happening up north so we wanted to try to get ahead of it and make people aware and hopefully it doesn't happen here in Oshkosh."

The department is talking to local businesses and passing flyers out with robbery prevention and safety tips.

"So what we're telling people is to be a good witness, try to keep yourself safe, don't try to be a hero and attack the person. If they're demanding money, just give them what they want," Manning said.

Officers say pay attention to details including the suspects clothing, voice, and what direction they go when the leave.

After a robbery, staff and customers should not compare descriptions about the suspects and details of the event.

Jason Weber with the Fox Crossing Police Department explained, "Keep these details to yourself just so that we're not jumbling all these details together, because somebody is bound to pick up something another person didn't."

Weber said suspects often target stores that have posters blocking the windows because outsiders won't be able to see inside.

He said, "You want to be able to limit that so you can see who's coming in and conversely so the people outside can kind of see what's going on."

Officials encourage businesses to invest in good security cameras, having at least one at eye level near an exit door.

They also recommend stores have at least 2 employees on shift during closing hours of a business.

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