Holdup and serial robber prompt alert

A search continues for two gunmen who held up employees of a popular restaurant early Thursday morning. It’s the latest in a series of daring robberies that have put central Texas business owners on alert.

Only employees were inside the Georgetown Applebee’s when the robbers struck early Thursday morning. The two gunmen got in through a back door.

GPD captain Roland Waits says the possibility of an inside job has not yet been ruled out.

"There is potential that somebody, a former employee or a friend of a friend, that kind of a thing, so we are definitely looking at that angle," Capt. Waits said.

It’s not the only active robbery investigation underway.  Late month, the A+ Federal Credit Union in Georgetown was hit as employees were opening up. The gunman, according to investigators, is not connected to the Applebee’s hold up. The gunman, however, has been linked to 27 other robberies throughout central Texas. The robberies date back to 2011, and the FBI has been called in to help identify the suspect, who remains elusive.

"There's extreme periods of time when he is hitting it really heavy, and then he will kind of back off and then he resurfaces," Waits said.

According to Waits, the bandit is doing his homework. He has a plan in place and he thinks things through.

Because of the incidents, business owners are being urged to take another look at their security plans.
Ken Covington, who owns a guitar shop on the square in Georgetown, said he didn’t know about the string of local robberies. He is concerned but also believes the community remains a safe place to work and live.

"I think we can still hold on to the casual, as far as leaving the doors open and stuff, but ... now what you are telling me, I’m going to be more cautious, for sure," Covington said.

As a joke, Covington has a Halloween display in his shop that reads “they do not call911.”  The familiar warning may be only as good, as a crime deterrent, as a recent suggestion.

An official with a police department near Georgetown, reportedly said businesses should post signs in store front windows to disclose only a small amount of cash is kept on site. Capt. Waits offered another idea.

"Signs are signs, speed limit signs, and not everybody understands what that is about...  anything you can do to raise awareness, what I'd say is business owners need to take a hard look at some of their protocol as far as opening and closing procedures, Waits said. “Having one person come in early or one person closing at night, that’s just not safe. That’s not a good business practice.”

Capt. Waits also says more business owners should invest into security cameras, and those who do, to keep the systems updated and turned on.