By Sara Nevin SYRACUSE , N.Y. (NCC News) – An armed robbery in downtown Syracuse during the middle of the day is raising security concerns among some locals. Police say a woman was robbed at gunpoint on the 400 block of South Clinton Street, near Peppino’s Neopolitan, just after 1:00pm on Sunday afternoon. The woman told police a man approached her from behind and pointed a silver handgun at her until she handed over her wallet.
Peppino’s owner John Vigliotti was quick to express his frustrations on Facebook after the incident. In a Facebook post, Vigliotti criticized the lack of police presence downtown and expressed concern that a rise in crime could hurt business. Vigliotti also revealed the woman robbed was one of his own employees and suggested people may not want to work in the area if they feel unsafe.
“It’s difficult enough to find good help and to possibly lose a staff member due to her fear of coming to work is concerning,” Vigliotti said in a Facebook post.
The owner of Cloud City Comics and Toys on South Clinton Street didn’t share the same fears. Owner Jeff Watkins said although the robbery was troubling ,he didn’t believe the incident would keep people from visiting downtown.
“Any city – any downtown district – is going to have isolated instances that is just unfortunately a part of being in society,” Watkins said. “It’s important to exercise caution and be aware of your surroundings, but crime is nothing new.”
Molly Mcguan works downtown at Terakeet and said she is moving to the area soon. Mcguan said she already avoids walking alone at night after work, but she plans on taking even more precautions during the day while walking downtown.
“For the most part I still feel very safe, but I’ll definitely be more cautious and likely to have someone with me, especially if I’m getting away from these streets where all the shops and restaurants are,” Mcguan said.
Mcguan added that while she feels safe walking by herself during the daytime, she is going to try to be more conscious of her surroundings so she is aware of anyone suspicious. This is especially true until police catch the suspect.
Police say the suspect is a black male and approximately 30 years old. He was wearing a dark-colored hoodie, a black ski mask and blue jeans.