Store employees keep safety at forefront - NBC12 - Richmond, VA News

Store employees keep safety at forefront

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HENRICO, VA (WWBT) -

For those who clock in to work each day at stores like Express Way on Mechanicsville Turnpike, they do it knowing their safety can also be challenged at any moment especially since it's happened on more than one occasion. Tuesday's deadly shooting is the latest in a tragic string of events.

At AMN Market near the Richmond/Henrico County border, customer service is more than a catch phrase. It's a standard operating procedure.

"You've got to be friendly with these people. To get respect, you have to give respect," says owner Azmat Hafez.

He's avoided becoming the victim of any major crime in the three years he's owned the shop. It's located just down the road from Express Way.

Last November someone shot Mohammed Taib inside the Food Mart near Midlothian Turnpike. Investigators believe someone robbed Taib. They found his body behind the counter.

Two months earlier witnesses say someone abducted Paresh Patel from the Chesterfield Raceway just before store opening time. Later, investigators found the 44 year old dead in a park.

Then there's the case of Milton Jackson. Last July investigators found the Family Dollar store worker's body in his car outside the store on Jeff Davis Highway. Police believe it was the result of an attempted robbery that happened around closing time.

Hafez says he works hard to prevent tragedy like this.

"I close early. I don't stay open until 11 or 12. We close at about 8 or 9," he said.

The owner also says when you come to his store, make sure you know you're not coming to just stand around. There are No Trespassing signs posted outside the building. On top of that before you walk through his doors, he says make sure he can see you. Another sign reads, "No Hoodies".

"You can identify the person and you can record them on the camera and play it back to see what he was doing….In this area, there's a lot of stealing going on. One has to be careful," Hafez said.

He has several cameras and throughout his store. As soon as you walk in, you see them so that in addition to being greeted, you know you're also being recorded.

Hafez says he also knows Tuesday night's shooting victim from attending mosque together. Wednesday morning, he went to the victim's home to comfort his family.

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