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Businesses on alert after string of armed robberies in Lexington

LEXINGTON, N.C. -- Some business owners in Lexington are on edge after a string of armed robberies over the last several months and some of them are beefing up security as a result.

Elizabeth's Pizza on Raleigh Road was the target of an armed robbery on Jan. 9. It's one of 11 reported armed robberies in Lexington during the past five months.

"We were all affected by it, everybody took it to heart, because we're all family up here," said Cassie Hassan, an employee of the restaurant for 17 years who witnessed the robbery.

Stickers on the entrance to Elizabeth's Pizza show it's armed with a security system. Employees are also finding safety in numbers; you won't find them closing up or leaving the restaurant alone.

"We walked outside, three guys came around his car, which, I mean, I got somewhere through the parking lot, but then they jumped him," Hassan said.

A police report shows three suspects robbed the restaurant and its manager just after 10 p.m. Hassan made it to her car, where she called 911.

"I wanted to help out, but it's three guys against little old me," she said.

The suspects got away with an unknown amount of cash and it's a similar pattern across the board.

Police reports show the suspect or suspects generally steal cash and merchandise, and when robbing the store, the suspects threaten employees with a gun or knife.

Two stores, the Hardee's on Salem Street and the Cal's Mini Mart on Center Street, were hit twice in the last several months.

Lexington police would not confirm if they think any of these cases are related, but Hassan says she believes Elizabeth's Pizza was targeted.

"Because they were after certain things," she said. "They wanted the money of course, but they also wanted his car keys and things out of his car that nobody would know were there. So we feel like either we were being watched or it was targeted."

According to police reports, all 11 of the armed robberies are still under investigation and police have not confirmed any suspects in these cases.