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Fireworks Stand Owners, Employees Amp Up Security Following Robberies

3 years 7 months 1 week ago Thursday, December 29 2016 Dec 29, 2016 December 29, 2016 5:53 PM December 29, 2016 in News

EDINBURG – Edinburg fireworks stand owners and employees are on alert following several robberies during the weekend.

Police said one woman was arrested and two more suspects are on the run after they robbed two Edinburg firework stands on the same day.

One of the owners asked us to hide her identity for her safety. She said she was working when the robbery happened.

“I couldn’t see, I think he was armed. You could see something on his side like he would rest his hand there,” she said.

However, the man didn’t cause any suspicion when he arrived at the stand.

 “(He was) they type of person that shows off and pretends like they are going to waste a lot of money. But to us it’s not new because many do it. They have that type of attitude in common,” she said. “It doesn’t mean they will rob you, but you can’t discriminate based on their physical condition or anything else.”

The owner said they will be adding more security to be able to identify suspects and their vehicles.  They are also staying in their cars or inside mobile homes next to the businesses overnight.  

“People that will exclusively look at what’s going on outside and not give (suspects) the opportunity to flee,” she said.

A couple miles away sits another stand whose vendors and employees said they’re preparing for unexpected intruders.

Firework stand employee Juany Cepeda said she’s worked at the place for the past 18 years. She said she knows of different procedures to keep the money safe.

“I take the money out throughout the day and I hide it…. There are always a lot of people coming by and sometimes crows of people can be near the money box,” she said. “I have to take extra precautions so they won’t steal from me.”

Cepeda said she has personal guard dogs on alert when someone is at the business. She said she even has a steel bar in case she has to protect herself.

 “They already committed another robbery somewhere else in other locations. They think they will succeed in everything they do, but sooner or later they will be caught because they will make mistakes,” she said.

Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Sgt. J.P. Rodriguez said fireworks stands are easy targets for robberies. He advised owners to have a plan in place to help investigators find criminal activity.

“Look at the description of the person, the clothing description and vehicle description. Try to get licenses plates if possible,” he said. “Any descriptors that are going to help us respond to the scene, locate the suspects and continue an investigation.”

Sgt. Rodriguez said the armed suspects stole fireworks and personal property from the stands during the weekend.

He said the first suspect, Maria De Jesus Espinoza, is still behind bars. Her 10-year-old daughter, who was in the car at the time of the robberies, was placed under Child Protective Services’ custody.

Police are currently working to track down the other suspects, 23-year-old Abram Uresti Garza and 30-year-old Lucas Garza.

Anyone with information about their whereabouts can call Hidalgo County Crime Stoppers at 956-383-8477.

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