SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - Eight convenience store owners recently lost everything because of armed robberies.
Since mid-January, robbers stole computers, cash in cash registers, cigarettes and wallets from at least eight stores in western Massachusetts.
One armed robbery victim spoke with 22News. He did not want his name used, but he said "[The robber] put his gun to my kidney, turned me around. He had me open the register. He took all the money he could get hands on."
And it's a story that has become too familiar among business owners in western Massachusetts. Most of them were small corner stores or gas stations that stay open late.
Aretha Hallums of Springfield told 22News "There's a lot more that needs to be done about the activities that happen in our neighborhoods. I want to feel safe. We need to be safe."
But problems with armed robberies don't stop at small businesses. Last month, two food delivery drivers were robbed while working. In both cases a weapon was used, and alleged robbers got away with cash and cell phones.
Delivery driver in Springfield Richard Fontaine said "That puts a fear in you. Hope it's not me next time. You get worried about it."
Delivery drivers and store owners told 22News there's nothing they can do to stop these crimes, but despite the risks, they can't stop working.
Fontaine said "Are you next? You know, sometimes you wonder, should I continue to do this? But if we don't, who's going to deliver their food?"
The armed robbery victim said "People who run the business usually just have a thicker skin, and it's just like what can you do. Because we own the business, there's just nothing you can do. You have to feed the family."
Some stores are considering closing early to help prevent robberies, but they say, in this economy, closing early could be detrimental to their business.