BELOIT, Wis. - The Beloit Police Department is investigating after seven convenience stores were robbed in the last 30 days.
Dave Huyck owns Dave's Bait & Tackle, which is one of the businesses that was hit.
"We had two people that robbed us," he said. "One came around the counter, and the other came over the counter."
He said the employee working at the time didn't know what hit her.
"It probably took 20-25 seconds at the most," Huyck said.
Huyck said something similar happened last year around the same time as well. Police say this is the time when robbers start to hit.
"During the holidays, we will see spikes in robberies and thefts," Capt. Dan Molland, with the Beloit Police Department, said.
Molland said the seven robbers are most likely related. He said the suspects usually act in a group of two or three. The men walk into a convenience store armed with handguns and demand cash. He said they usually hide their identities, which has made it hard to get good pictures from surveillance videos.
Molland said the police department has been reaching out to local businesses to talk about what to do if an armed robbery occurs.
"We've been going to businesses educating them what to watch for, what to be aware of," he said. "We educate the businesses to try not to escalate the situation, to try to de-escalate the situation."
Huyck said he's been relaying that information to his employees.
"We all got together and we talked," he said. "If this ever happens, just give them the money, whatever they want you to do, just do. Don't argue with them."
Huyck said the increased police presence has set him at ease.
"I have noticed they have been around a lot more, watching our stores and businesses," he said. "That does make us feel a lot better."
The police department warns the community to also be safe during the holiday season.
"Don't be afraid to call 911 if you see something that's kind of out of place," Molland said. "We'd rather come out and try to check it out and see what's going on. So we encourage the community that's out there every day -- help us be the eyes, and help us prevent crime and make the Beloit community a safe community."
Molland said the Beloit police are also working with the Janesville Police Department to determine whether the string of robberies is related to an armed robbery at a Janesville liquor store.
Anyone with information about the robberies is asked to call the Beloit Police Department, at 608-364-6823, or the Greater Beloit Area CrimeStoppers, 608-362-7463.
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