Victims of an armed robbery in Lake Wylie are feeling more secure today.
Prompted by armed robbery last May – when a man knocked on the back door just after Lake Wylie Pharmacy opened for the day, and demanded painkillers and money – staff at Lake Wylie Pharmacy asked a customer for help.
Randy Almond, co-owner of North-South Firearms Training, held a special class concealed weapons permitting class for the staff.
“It lets you kind of take control of the situation,” said Larry Meek, owner of the pharmacy at Shoppes at the Landing. “All five technicians, and four of their husbands took it.”
In the eight-hour class they learned how to handle weapons, the laws and topics to help decide whether to carry weapons.
“This is a direct result of us being robbed at gun point in May,” Meek said. “It was, ‘what else can I do to remain safe?’”
Meek and one employee were at the store during the robbery. Security and planning increased to avoid something similar in the future.
Months after the Lake Wylie Pharmacy robbery, there was another robbery at CVS in Lake Wylie. Both incidents included a suspect demanding pharmaceuticals and money. Neither suspect has been caught.
Meek said all businesses are at risk for this sort of crime.
“Any kind of business has cash,” he said.
Pharmacy employees aren’t the only ones looking to protect themselves.
“Lately, there has been an increase (in class participants),” said Ed Rudisill, who teaches with Almond at the business off Oakridge Road. “I think a lot of that is what people see, terrorist attacks and things of that nature. The fear level is high.”
Other people come in fearing domestic situations or increased crime.
“We’ve had several people’s homes have been broken into,” Rudisill said. “A lot of ladies take it.”
Ashley Alley at Salon 180 took the class with the pharmacy crowd. After 50 rounds and discussions on safety, Alley feels more prepared for whatever could happen.
“I went in kind of nervous,” she said. “When we were done, I felt more confident. I just did it for safety, for self-defense.”
North-South averages one class a month.
“It’s a tool of last resort, when you’ve tried everything else,” Rudisill said.
Meek just wants to keep his employees and himself safe.
“I have been a victim,” Meek said. “I don’t want to feel like a victim again.”