Store worker after another smash and grab robbery: ‘We are in a dark time’

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Surveillance video shared by MPD shows a group of robbers rush into a Whitehaven wireless store and begin grabbing everything they can carry. Among that group was what appeared to be a young child, only half the height of the robbers.

Employees told FOX13 the robbers made off with $20,000 worth of inventory and caused upwards of $40,000 to the building by ramming a car into the storefront. The damage was mostly fixed by Wednesday, save for a patch of plywood covering part of the building.

The owner took some new security measures, like installing concrete pylons near the entrance, to prevent another car from breaking through.

Video shared by employees of the robbery’s aftermath shows extensive damage to the front of the store and broken display cases inside. Some, though, are more concerned with employees and their paychecks than the store itself.

An employee told FOX13 the store was closed for just a day and a half. Getting the store reopened as soon as possible was a priority because employees would not be paid otherwise.

Unfortunately, this was far from the only Memphis business MPD reports was hit in a smash and grab over the last few weeks. GameXchange on Winchester was hit on the 28th.

“Basically a pickup truck, a white F-150 backed into it,” Maurice Strong, a GameXchange employee, said. “As you can see, the damage is done. They cleared us out of all Xbox games and components and what have you.”

Strong said the store reopened the very next day so paychecks wouldn’t stop. Other stores, though, saw fit to close their doors after a smash and grab.

Around 60 people were caught on camera rushing into a Gamestop in late January.

An employee told FOX13 only a few hundred dollars worth of items were stolen because precautions were in effect after other Gamestops in the area were hit. Employees were given emergency pay to stay home.

Strong said the increase in smash and grabs is a disturbing trend.

“We lost our way,” he said. “We are in a dark time.”

The front of Strong’s store is now made out of plywood and a paper sign has been hung to let customers know the store is still in business despite its appearance.

“They always come in and say, ‘What happened?’” Strong said. “And I tell them, we’re remodeling.”

Strong said insurance will cover the around $10,000 of stolen merchandise, but he is not yet sure how costly the damage to the store will be. He was not afraid to return to work, crediting his religious faith.

Employees at other stores, though, were not as confident in their safety.

The owner of a cell phone store on Park said after news of his business getting robbed for $70,000 became public, he started getting threatening phone calls. Some callers claimed they intended to ransom the products back to him.

Strong said even more disturbing than the crimes are the ages of those involved.

“That’s a baby. It’s just a baby,” he said after viewing footage of the robbery in Whitehaven. “He’s throwing his future away. He’s being led down the wrong path. This is heartbreaking.”

Strong believes it is critical that parents stay closely involved in their children’s lives.

A recent survey from the Memphis Shelby Crime Commission found 95% of people supported investing in productive and healthy outlets for youth as a means of preventing juvenile crime. 78% said they would be willing to invest themself.