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COOPER CITY, Fla. -- Using a well-executed plan and in-store security cameras, Albertsons was able to catch an ex-employee red-handed during an attempted store robbery here late Monday night.
"We'd had two different robberies in [the Cooper City] area in the past month, including one at this store, so we had put in place a security plan in the surrounding areas to identify the perpetrator if he came into the stores again," Albertsons spokesman Walt Rubel told Progressive Grocer. "That's exactly what he did on Monday night. He went to the break room and waited for the store to close, the same as he had done in the other cases. A customer and an associate became suspicious. The associate, who was part of the security plan, called the police, and they brought in a SWAT team."
The robber held four employees hostage at gunpoint in the break room for several hours, according to local press reports. Once the SWAT team arrived, the hostages were released and the suspect was taken into custody around 2:30 a.m. yesterday.
According to Rubel, witnesses at the scene said the suspect tried to sneak out. "They said he put on a name tag, shirt, and tie, and pretended he was the night manager. But the police didn’t buy it," Rubel said.
No one was injured in the incident. The suspect is being charged on three counts of armed robbery and four accounts of kidnapping, Rubel said.
Albertsons, meanwhile, is in the process of upgrading the security systems in many of its stores to incorporate digital video, Rubel added. He said he didn't know if the Cooper City store's systems had been upgraded.
-- Jenny McTaggart