LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) – The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is noticing a trend within commercial robberies. People with violent criminal pasts are committing the robberies and are targeting multiple businesses.
“Robbery is a crime of violence,” LVMPD Theft Crimes Bureau Capt. Shane Womack said. “It’s a violent crime we’re trying to curb.”
In 2022, LVMPD has solved all 16 series of commercial robberies. A series means the same person committed multiple robberies.
“It’s a testament to the relentless follow up and the work ethic that everyone has,” Womack said.
However, the number of these robberies are up by 65% from just last year. In all 16 cases the suspects arrested have prior criminal history.
That includes Alcede Melonson, who’s case police have coined the Rainbow revolver, because all nine robberies he’s accused of earlier this year took place between Rainbow and Spring Mountain. He can also be seen flashing a revolver on security cameras.
Police said he’s previously served two decades in prison.
Metro credits their officers on the ground, and collaboration with the community to solve the case.
“It got [area command] involved in the businesses. The bars, the banks and the convenience stores handing out fliers and communicating with the owners. That’s what gave us the original tip that led us to get the probable cause to make the arrest,” LVMPD Commercial Robberies Lt. Joe Lepore said.
Commercial robberies include convenience stores, banks, bars and police said Las Vegas presents added challenges. There are many offenders from out of the area, and businesses are open at all times of night.
“We have a community where convenience stores, grocery stores our open 24 hours a day. It’s not like that in a lot of communities,” Womack said.
Every area command has a crime prevention specialist that gives businesses tips on where to position cameras that can capture thieves faces or full body. They also can provide advice like avoiding patterns when doing money drops.
“Businesses can reach out to those specific crime prevention specialists, and they can do site assessments at these businesses. They give them tips on how to prevent or at least not make such a soft target,” Lepore said.
Womack called Crime Stoppers invaluable in solving these types of crimes.
Lepore said over the past five years the department has solved 90 percent of the commercial robbery cases.
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