Camden Mart Robberies

A convenience store in North Minneapolis is hit twice with robberies and given little police response.

Camden Mart is a community store located in North Minneapolis that is also home to Great American Pizza and the Mini Olympic Café. This store, along with many local businesses, has lost lots of business because of the COVID-19 lockdown. Also, the vandalism and violence in Minneapolis have scared some customers away. However, Camden Mart has another reason to blame for its financial hit.

On October 9th, Camden Mart’s owner, Joe, was working the late shift so that he could let his employees have some time off. While manning the cash register, someone came behind the counter and pointed a gun at Joe’s head. At first, Joe didn’t think anything of it. “I thought it was a joke. Lots of the customers I know will jokingly come behind the counter and ask for all of my money,” said Joe. Also, all customers now have to wear masks in light of the pandemic making robbers blend in. The robber and his accomplice forced Joe to leave the store and held one of his employees, a teenager, hostage while they stole the money, over $10,000 from all three cash registers.

Joe called the police and they came rather swiftly to take fingerprints from the store.

Before any results came back from the fingerprinting tests, Camden Mart was robbed again, by the same two people. Joe was not present, but around 9 o’clock received a call from Alicia, an employee at the store and the mom of the teenager who was held hostage in the first robbery. The robbers pointed a gun to her head while Joe rushed over. After the robbers emptied the registers, they exited the store right as Joe pulled up. He saw them go into the house right next to the store and waited by the entrance of the house until the police got there.

Again, the cops came very quickly. Joe told them where the robbers were and backup came. According to Joe, there were 25 swat cars that surrounded the house. However, not one officer went into the building. They were waiting for a warrant that never came. The cars stayed for a couple of hours before they left around midnight, not having entered the building.

The Minneapolis Police Department has not yet commented on the robberies and as to why they did not enter the building. Joe believes the lack of a warrant has to do with the negative media attention the police have been getting. 

“I’m not sure why they didn’t go in [the building]. My guess is because of how much they are in the news lately,” said Joe.

He also compared American policing to policing in Lebanon where he is originally from. He explained that if officers knew where criminals are at, then they do not hesitate to seek justice. But, here in the states, more and more officers are second-guessing their decisions because of the hate they could potentially receive.

The hesitation of police to act affects more than their jobs. It is a domino effect that in this case helped robbers to get away and theoretically strike again, especially when there seems to be no consequences for their actions. Camden Mart is left to fend for themselves, wondering if they should bring in another form of security. However, this security would cost money, another thing the store is lacking.

Joe said that the sales have gone down significantly because people are afraid to come back leaving him helpless and distraught. “Why me? Why can’t I be protected?” asked Joe, “The police have to have some power. They need to be able to do their job and protect us.”

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