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Clerks injured in robberies in Westmoreland Mall

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By Jewels Phraner and Renatta Signorini
Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
 

Two clerks at separate stores in Westmoreland Mall were injured on Thursday night as a result of strong-arm robberies.

State police at Greensburg said in both instances — which occurred nearly two hours apart — a black man punched a clerk and fled with money from an open cash register drawer.

Trooper Steve Limani said he didn't know if the incidents were related, but that “it was a similar type of motive in how they committed the crime.”

The first robbery occurred at 7:30 p.m. at Famous Footwear, on the second floor of the mall near Sears.

Police said a black man came up to the counter to purchase shoelaces. When the clerk opened the cash register, he struck the clerk and fled with cash, Limani said.

At 9:30 p.m., a white woman was buying a sign at Barbara Ann's Country Home Furnishings, on the lower level of the mall near J.C. Penney. As the clerk was waiting for the woman to find change, a black man struck the cashier from behind. The pair fled with the cash.

The sales associate at Barbara Ann's said she never heard the man come behind the counter.

“He grabbed my T-shirt and slammed my face with his fist,” she said. “It happened so fast. It was a jerk, a slam, and I hit the ground.”

The sales associate asked that she not be named. She returned to work on Friday with a swollen cheek and nose.

The pair took about $900 from the store — including $200 of the clerk's personal money she had stuck in the cash register for safekeeping.

She said she would likely go to the hospital on Friday night to get checked out.

Employees at Barbara Ann's made changes to make the store more secure, including barricading one entry to the U-shaped sales counter.

A woman was not involved in the Famous Footwear robbery. The pair did not have or threaten to have a weapon.

“They're using force,” Limani said. “We would like people to stay vigilant.”

A representative from Famous Footwear said store personnel are not permitted to comment on investigations.

A call to St. Louis-based Brand Shoes, Famous Footwear's parent company, was not returned Friday afternoon.

Limani asked anyone with information to call state police at 724-832-3288.

Jewels Phraner and Renatta Signorini are staff writers for Trib Total Media. Phraner can be reached at 724-850-1218 or jphraner@tribweb.com. Signorini can be reached at 724-837-5374 or rsignorini@tribweb.com.

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