HATTIESBURG, MISS. - Multiple Pine Belt law enforcement agencies are working together to stop armed robberies including one where a Columbia woman was shot in the neck twice.
“We want to collaborate with other agencies that are having the same problems with armed robberies we're having, and we may be able to decide how many suspects we actually have… If it's one or two parties, or if it's more,” Columbia Police Department Captain of Investigations Rita Pickering said.
This comes after a string of 10 plus armed robberies in the Pine Belt. The most recent armed robbery in Columbia left a Family Dollar's store manager with two bullet wounds to her neck.
“She was released and she's home doing well, but the thing is we want to try and catch these suspects,” Pickering stated.
The Pine Belt law enforcement agencies need the public to come forward, and help get these criminals off the streets.
“What crime stoppers is... we're an anonymous tip hotline, and the number to call is 601-582-7867,” Metro Crime Stoppers Coordinator, Diane James said.
Pickering expanded on why it is important to for the public to step, by challenging residents to make it personal to them and their families.
“It could be your wife. It could be your husband. It could be your child. Your daughter, your son working at one of these locations that was shot,” Pickering stated.
After holding a meeting closed off to the media, with various law enforcement agencies throughout the Pine Belt. Law enforcement officials say that they made progress.
“The meeting went well,” Chris Wallace from the Simpson County Sheriff’s department said. “We compared notes and tried to formulate any kind of patterns or similarities between each of these robberies and other crimes. But, it went well overall… I think we made some progress.”
“If we can all just come together and solve this that's the goal,” Jonathan Harrison from Columbia Police Department said. “So we ask the public if anybody knows anything… Try to help us out.”
“Anybody out there if you know about a crime please call Crime Stoppers at 582-STOP, and if you are outside of the Hattiesburg area you can call 1-888-crime,” James said.
The law enforcement agencies say they plan to continue working together to crack these cases like these. Officials also want to remind the public to call Crime Stoppers with any information. You can remain anonymous.