Convenience store robbery latest in growing number of area robberies

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ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - The number of robberies around Orange County is on the rise, and the violent nature of many of the robberies has residents concerned.

Early Friday morning saw another example of a violent criminal trying to collect easy cash by going after innocent people in the midst of their everyday lives.

Deputies said a man choked a 7-Eleven employee before robbing her. He told her he had a gun and threatened to kill her.

"You just get scared. Makes you look over your back all the time, looking and watching," said Orange County resident Wendy Borrow.

Borrow, a mother, said she's seen some of the surveillance images that have aired on WFTV Channel 9 and she's not happy with what she is seeing.

"It's crazy. I don't how other people do that to other people," she said.

Orange County authorities could not provide exact numbers and wouldn't do an interview for reporter Kenneth Craig's story, but they did say the number of robberies has increased.

Channel 9 has reported on a number of robberies to convenience stores and pharmacies, and has aired reports on the armed men who have hit more than a dozen hotels and motels in central Florida. The group committing robberies at the hotels and motels has yet to be caught.

"They're going to keep doing it, and somebody is going to get killed, several people probably, people like me walking in there get shot at," said Orange County resident Lennon Schuman.

Sheriff's officials said their 16-person robbery unit is aggressively trying to tackle the problem, but they are short staffed.

They said investigators are working overtime on the cases but there are no plans to increase the staff.