West Side business owner says his stores have been robbed eight times

CINCINNATI -- David Pickerel's employees have been held at gunpoint and robbed eight times, he said Friday. Pickerel spoke to reporters just hours after one such incident: At 2:30 p.m., a short distance from District 3 police headquarters, a man walked into the Glenway Avenue Subway with a gun in hand and demanded money.

"These are young people going to college, trying to get started on careers," Pickerel said of his workers. "If they're at risk of getting robbed, it's scary."

It's also expensive, he added. Stores that have been robbed before deal with elevated insurance costs in addition to the financial blow of the actual theft. 

Although Friday's suspect, 32-year-old Byron Thomas, had been booked and charged with aggravated robbery by midnight, that hasn't always been the case. Pickerel wanted to be clear Friday night he did not believe the problem was police inaction -- instead, he said, it was a lack of adequate police resources in the area.

"I have five stores within 10 minutes of this store in Green Township and Colerain Township and Miami Heights," he said. "We've had one robbery between those five stores in 15 years."

The Cincinnati Police Department employees more than 160 officers in District 3, and a department spokesperson said they believe the area is adequately staffed.

Moreover, despite the sub-par luck of Pickerel's Subways, police records show robberies in the district have declined by 40 percent so far this year.

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