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Criminal Justice

7-Eleven Robberies Leave SoCal Workers Feeling Rattled

A 7-Eleven sign displayed on a window.
The 7-Eleven corporation urged stores in the area to close the past two nights.
(Scott Olson
Getty Images)
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After a string of robberies at 7-Eleven stores throughout Southern California, franchises were encouraged to close Tuesday night.

The company is now offering a $100,000 reward for information that helps catch the shooter, and stores have reopened for business. But the attacks — which left two people dead and three others wounded — have rattled employees.

Yadira Rodríguez works at a store in Bell Gardens. Most of her clients are regulars, people she greets by name. But she has been on guard.

“You have to be more alert now,” she said, “because of the fear of being robbed.”

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She and her colleagues look out for one another. Even before the attacks, they tried to always have two employees in the store, just in case anything happened, Rodríguez added.

“I hope nothing happens here,” she said. “But if something does happen, hopefully they’ll just take whatever they want and not carry any guns.”

Her coworker, Eduardo Buenrostro, lives about a block away from the store. He was sad to hear about the workers who lost their lives. He works the day shift, but he’s been swinging by the store in the evenings to check on his coworkers.

The company has been urging stores in the Greater L.A. area to close overnight. Rodríguez says the location where she works is staying open, but late-night business has dropped off.

The search for the robbery suspect continues. The robberies all took place at 7-Eleven stores early Monday in Ontario, Upland, Riverside, Santa Ana, Brea and La Habra.

In a statement, company officials said their "hearts are with the victims and their loved ones" and that they're working with local law enforcement officials on the investigation.

According to crime statistics reported to the FBI, in 2019 more than 14,000 convenience stores in the U.S. were robbed. CSP, a publication focused on the convenience store industry, reported that number passed 20,000 robberies in 2020 — the most recent statistics available — and accounted for 3% of all violent crime reported that year.

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Updated July 13, 2022 at 5:57 PM PDT
This story was updated to include national statistics on robberies at convenience stores.
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