Moundsville Store Employees Wary After Three Robberies

While Loading Zone manager Jennifer Johnson said the employee who was threatened at knifepoint last weekend remains rattled, officials are working to increase security options at the Moundsville gas station in the wake of a third robbery in a few years.

With numerous security cameras pointing down at the store itself and a panic button to summon the police, Johnson said she is working to increase employee presence at night to discourage the store seeming like an easy target for a potential robber.

“I have had a guy closing at night,” she said. “I’m training him to be the assistant, even though I’ve hired another guy.

“It kind of helps having a guy on night shift. For the longest time, we’ve not had any problems.”

Johnson said that during the robbery last week, the cashier on duty at the time was working her first night shift by herself.

While the cashier has returned to work, she said the other employees were more angry than worried over the robbery.

“I feel bad because it was that girl’s first night by herself closing,” she said.

“Ever since the last robber, we’ve had a guy on close. And I’m training (a new employee). … I do think it does help, but I can only work with what I’ve got.”

“The rest haven’t said too much. I think they’re more mad about it. It keeps happening, always seems to be a knife. But the girl who got robbed, she’s still coming in. A job like this, it’s bound to happen. It’s just a given,” Johnson said.

Johnson said that despite the abundance of cameras, perpetrators have eluded identification through them by dressing head to toe with hoods and masks. Since the robbery, Johnson has kept a handwritten sign on the door requiring customers to remove such articles of clothing before entering.

“I think that it’s pretty good,” she said of the cameras. “The problem that we have is that the thief is so well-dressed, you can’t get any distinguishing marks off him. I don’t think we lack in having enough cameras, or in where they’re placed, it’s just, they come in completely covered, which is leaving us with basically nothing.”

Moundsville police are continuing to investigate the case as of Monday afternoon. Lt. Steve Kosek initially said they were investigating the possibility that the robberies were connected, with the last two being committed around the same time of day in the same general time of year.

Johnson added that despite the repeated robberies at knifepoint, she doesn’t suspect the incidents are highly related.

“I think, just because they think they can get away with it, because no one’s got caught for the crime,” she said.

The Loading Zone was robbed in December 2014, and again in January 2017, and once more last Tuesday. No suspects have been arrested for those robberies.

However, Scott Parsons, arrested in May for breaking into the store and taking more than $8,000 in cash, pleaded guilty to grand larceny and will be sentenced Feb. 21.