Serial robberies prompt increased security at local cell phone stores

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Some cell phone stores are changing security measures after a string of robberies in Norfolk and Portsmouth.

At a MetroPCS store on Princess Anne Road, a sign reads, “Please knock for entry. Remove all hats, hoodies, sunglasses, etc. or no entry!” The Norfolk store was robbed at gunpoint three times in the last two months. Employees there and at another recently-robbed MetroPCS nearby have been keeping the doors locked.

An employee at a MetroPCS store on Granby Street, who did not want to be identified for safety reasons, said the rash of robberies at cell phone stores has made her uncomfortable. The Granby Street store is not on the list of recent armed robberies, and she was doing her best to keep it that way.

“I’m much more alert. So, I watch the door and the traffic much more … People with hats on that are really low, I watch for that … The security system, I turned it on so that when the door opens and closes it announces it, just in case I’m not out on the floor,” she said.

In Norfolk, police have investigated five armed robberies at MetroPCS stores and one at a Boost Mobile store in recent weeks. They think the same serial robber could be behind all of the ones in that city and have shared surveillance photos.

Portsmouth police said someone robbed a Boost Mobile store in the 4200 block of Portsmouth Boulevard at gunpoint in April and in May. It is not clear if the cases are connected.

A spokeswoman for T-Mobile said, in a statement, “T-Mobile, along with MetroPCS and our dealers, will work closely with law enforcement as they investigate.”

10 On Your Side left a message with Boost Mobile to discuss robberies at its stores, but the company did not immediately return requests for comment.

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