A rumor that the Family Dollar in Trenton was robbed started on social media Monday after passersby reported seeing several law enforcement vehicles with lights on near the store.
But according to Trenton Public Safety Chief Matthew Rexroat, it was not what it seemed.
“There was no robbery at the Family Dollar in Trenton,” Rexroat told Mainstreet Daily News.
Rexroat reported that the incident in question occurred at 6:30 p.m. Monday. He called it “a traffic stop which led to an arrest.”
However, Rexroat added that Trenton Police have upped their patrol of the area as a result of learning about a rash of at least eight gunpoint robberies and attempted robberies that started in Gainesville in October and have also been reported in Archer and Newberry Family Dollar stores.
“We are aware of the robberies in the neighboring county,” Rexroat said. “And we are keeping up patrol in the area.”
According to Gainesville Police Department spokesperson Graham Glover, six robberies that “involved the display of a firearm” are still under investigation. They are as follows:
Oct. 12 – Shell/Daily’s Gas Station at 3850 Newberry Rd. at 1:50 a.m.
Oct. 17 – T-Mobile at 2 NW 16 Ave. at 7:36 p.m.
Oct. 19 – Kangaroo station at 2152 NW 39 Ave. at 9:07 p.m.
Nov. 5 – Family Dollar at 5007 NW 34 Blvd. at 7:40 p.m.
Nov. 9 – Dollar General at 1080 NE 16 Ave. at 9:43 p.m.
Nov. 23 – Family Dollar at 5007 NW 34 Blvd. at 7:40 p.m.
GPD posted a “ROBBERY SUSPECTS WANTED” entry on its Facebook page on Nov. 24, “asking for the public’s help in identifying the individuals depicted in these photos, who are known suspects in at least six recent robberies.”
The photos show two people dressed in black sweatshirts with hoods and masks covering their faces. One person is wearing gray shorts with a black stripe, another is wearing all black with pants, another is wearing patterned sweatpants with red, white and gray colors and red sneakers.
Alachua County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO) deputies are still investigating an attempted robbery Sunday evening at the Family Dollar store located in the Hitchcock’s shopping center on West Newberry Road. Shots were fired, but no injuries reported.
The ACSO is also investigating a Nov. 26 break-in and robbery on at ArchAngel Gunsmithing and Outfitters in Newberry, where the suspects, who also wore masks, stole more than $13,000 in items including five firearms. On Nov. 22, two suspects in ski masks held up the Archer Family Dollar at gunpoint.
Investigators have not established a link between the crimes, but GPD wants the same two men in connection with the Gainesville incidents.
“One suspect is approximately 6′ tall, the other approximately 5’ 8,” the GPD Facebook post said. “The taller suspect is known to wear black Nike sweatshirts and Nike shoes. Their heads and faces are always covered. They have stolen large amounts of cash and are targeting dollar and convenience stores, typically in the evening hours.”
GPD asks those with information about the suspects or the robberies to contact GPD Detective Katie Boyett at 352-393-7672 or email@example.com.
Anonymous tips can be made by contacting Alachua Crime Stoppers at 352-372-7867.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include an additional robbery.