Sparta police officers took to the streets on Tuesday to talk to local business owners about a string of robberies in the area.
They are looking for answers after responding to two different business robberies in the past two weeks. The robberies took place at Casey’s General Store and Family Dollar on Black River Street in Sparta. Authorities say they have been receiving tips, but have not tracked down a suspect or suspects.
In order to get some answers and talk to the business owners about what they can do to keep their store safe, the police officers went back to their roots.
Sparta Police Sgt. Jason Pipkin went door to door to talk to business owners and ask for help in finding a suspect involved in a recent robbery.
“We’re just asking everybody to be on a lookout,” said Pipkin.
Sparta Police Chief Mike Kass says the department is going back to the basics and handing out fliers.
“We’ve taken some still shots from video feeds of the most recent robbery and then we added a couple of tips in there for businesses to follow,” said Kass.
It’s a technique they don’t normally use, but found necessary under these circumstances.
Kass said, “The nice thing about the fliers is it allows the police officer an opportunity to engage with the people he is presenting them to and then answer questions they might have.”
A local business employee said she appreciates the gesture. “It is nice to know what is going on and that we are able to help them anytime we can,” said Jean Oswald.
Along with some tips about how to spot suspicious activity, the police department also wants to remind the community to contact them at any time.
“Business owners or shoppers oftentimes they think something is suspicious but they don’t call us because they don’t want to bother us. Honestly, we would sooner be bothered and go to a suspicious person call than take a robbery complaint,” said Kass.
Kass encourages the community to continue sending tips in because anyone of them could be the link the police department needs to solve the robberies.
If you have any information, please contact the Sparta Police Department by calling 608-269-3122.