Phone store

Cell Phone Shop Owners Fear Targets of Violent Criminals – FOX13 News Memphis

Some independent cell phone shop owners fear being targeted by armed criminals.

From thefts to burglaries, store owners told FOX13 they want the help of the Memphis police.

A suspect used a shotgun to rob a store in the 3400 block of Park on Friday.

RELATED: Police search for suspect after armed robbery at Memphis cellphone store

The stolen phones are sold to people who could also be charged.

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Buying stolen items is a crime, and if you didn’t know it was stolen, your phone could be confiscated and you’ll run out of money.

Stopping theft is what some store owners want to do before someone gets hurt.

Imagine trying to run a business and instead of focusing on your bottom line, you have to deal with people pointing a gun at your face.

Some independent franchise cell phone store owners are complaining that this is happening to them in the Memphis area.

“Not only are they stealing money from the store, but they’re also stealing customers’ belongings and employees,” Gabriel Martinez told FOX13.

Martinez is the manager of a franchise store in Horn Lake.

He called FOX 13 after cell phone franchise owners in Memphis called him because they were afraid of the upcoming robbery.

“It seems word has gotten around that cellphone retailers are an easy target,” he said.

Memphis police told FOX13 they have four cases of commercial burglary or robbery involving a cell phone store.

FOX13 checked MPD reports and found two flights last week.

One happened in Getwell, with the suspects using what appeared to be assault weapons.

The other happened on Park where the shooter fell while trying to run, only to return for the cash register.

“Maybe this goofy idiot was trying to get his share of the action,” Martinez said.

Criminals apparently know that new cell phones and other gadgets can sell out quickly to local friends or unsuspecting customers looking for a bargain price on the web.

Police warn that if you buy something that has been stolen, you could potentially face charges.

Martinez said store owners wanted police help to protect them and their livelihoods.

“Patrol, a little extra patrol. Come by midday,” he said.

Martinez told FOX13 that some store owners plan to improve their security.

Memphis police emailed FOX13 to say these merchants can join the MPD Business Watch and Neighborhood Watch programs for advice on how to improve their safety for themselves and their customers.