• Villages gun club membership up after mugging, string of burglaries


    SUMTER COUNTY, Fla. - Recent crime in The Villages now has some retirees arming themselves, Channel 9 has learned, and membership in a local gun club is up after a mugging and a string of burglaries.

    Some residents told WFTV's Berndt Petersen they're being more careful and keeping their eyes open.

    Recently, a woman was mugged and seriously injured in broad daylight at the Rolling Acres Plaza.

    "I've been a victim, and I realize that things can happen," said Villages resident Dorothy Neiharth.

    Neuharth said she's concerned about what happened at Rolling Acres and a recent string of home burglaries. 

    "Where I came from, ladies being robbed in the parking lots of malls was a routine thing that happened weekly if not more frequently than that," said Terry Marksberry of the Villages Straight Shooters Gun Club.

    Marksberry said that's why he started the Straight Shooters gun club, which has nearly 300 members and continues to pick up another 20 or 30 every month.  

    Marksberry said because The Villages is a very safe area, too many retirees have let their guard down.

    "Be aware," he said. "Be aware of your surroundings and just don't be stupid about things like that.  It can happen in any community."

    Residents were also a bit spooked by two recent bomb threats at the Spanish Springs Town Square in which one person has been arrested.

    Police, however, are still looking for two suspects who used the mugging victim's credit card after the attack.  

    Marksberry said now that the snow birds are back he expects even more villagers to join.

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    Villages gun club membership up after mugging, string of burglaries