Two Tyler businesses were robbed at gun point just blocks away from Tyler Junior College last month. The suspects are two to three black males who police are still searching for.
The Paleteria Taqueria Polar, a restaurant/convenience store on South Vine Avenue was robbed just after 8 p.m. on Jan. 12. According to the employees, two workers were forced into the back of the store. The robbers held them at gun point then stole merchandise and cash.
A day later, there was another armed robbery on Fifth Street at the Posado’s Mexican Restaurant around 10 p.m. Three workers were forced at gun point in a walk-in freezer. The three suspects then stole cash.
Shannon Revels, a Posado’s employee, says that she and other employees are now more cautious, more aware, and they don’t get as comfortable at work as they once did. Since the armed robbery, the restaurant never opens the back door anymore, there is a lock on the gate, and they are keeping their money safer. Managers are not saying too much to the employees about information but are telling them to stay in groups whenever walking to their cars.
“The managers are really trying not to talk to us because we’re all still kind of spooked”, said Revels.
Revels doesn’t plan on quitting her job, but she still is not as comfortable as she once was.
“My mother thinks that I should quit but I’m going to continue working there, and we all just hope for the best,” said Revels.
No one was physically injured during any of these encounters. Tyler Police has no information on the suspects, but will continue the investigation. Although the suspects of both robberies were black males dressed in all black clothing and both robberies happened only a day from each other, Tyler PD doesn’t know for sure whether these cases are related.
Don Martin, public informational officer of Tyler PD said there are no updates or new information on the case. He doesn’t think any of the suspects are TJC students.
Both events occurred close to Tyler Junior College and students are now inquiring about their safety on campus. TJC’s campus police encourages students to stay safe the best way they can.
Director of Campus Police Chief Randy Melton said the best way to stay safe on campus is for everyone to always wear their lanyards and to be aware of your surroundings at all times.
“That, [your lanyard], what you’re wearing right there is the best way to keep a safe campus. It lets us know who’s supposed to be here and whose not,” said Chief Melton.
TJC has nine ambassadors around campus that help ensure safety policies.
Thomas Johnson is the Executive Director of Campus Police and Director of Law Enforcement Academy.
“Since 2010, statistics show that the total numbers of crime on campus has went down tremendously thanks to the change of the lanyard policy,” said Johnson.
Campus police advise students on ways to stay safe.
“Be aware of surroundings, have keys and your cell phone in your hands before walking to your car,” said Chief Melton.
Students can also call campus police for escorts if they ever feel uncomfortable and need protection getting from their classes to their cars. If anyone notices any suspicious behavior they should call police at 903-510-2222, and should have this number stored in their phones. Students can also call this number if they ever need to report a crime.
“Students can also use UTIPS, which is an anonymous way of sending useful information to the police by texting,” said Johnson. If students ever spot suspicious activity just text 79516, and enter “tjctip” before their message.
Crime Stoppers will pay up to $1000 for information that leads to the arrest and charges filed against the suspects in this case or any other felony case. Anyone with any information on these cases should call Tyler Police Department at 903-531-1000 or Tyler/ Smith County Crime Stoppers at 903-597-CUFF.