by Victor Lopez
ODESSA--Blame it on the economy or someone thinking they can get away with it. Whatever the reason, Odessa Police are fighting back.
It's not a task force and it doesn't doesn't even have a specific name. It's an operation where officers go out on any given shift, to any given location, looking for any signs of trouble.
According to Cpl. Sherrie Carruth, over 100 beer runs, at convenience stores were reported during the month of May, "They do it once. They think they can get away with it. They continue to do it. Those beer runs culminated into what we would call robberies because the clerks would get injured or they would make threats to harm the clerks."
Carruth says, the operation is focused on places beer runs happen most, "N-N-Out, Town and Country, just about any store that is a potential, but mainly, what gets hit, where you find your beer runs, are going to be stores like that, your convenience stores."
The robbers are getting bold, sometimes even striking during the day. And it's their age that might surprise you. According to Carruth, "They're not minors. We're dealing with adults here. We're dealing with people who have been getting away with it for so long, thinking nothing is going to be done."
That is, until now. The first weekend patrol made 11 arrests and it's not going to stop there.
"We have different officers that will be assigned to do it. It is a different time and when they will be doing it," Carruth explained.
She added the success of the operation is the element of surprise, "They're not going to know where we are and they're not going to know what store we're in."
With some of these beer runs getting violent, the police department is putting the safety of the citizens first, "We just want people to understand that we realize there is a problem, what measures we're taking to handle the problem and what we've done so far."
Many convenience stores do have surveilence cameras installed but Carruth says, while it is helpful in the investigation, it isn't going to necessarily stop someone from committing a crime.