Robbery is fourth in two months

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 7, 2003

Like most Selmians, Zannie Murphy never gave much thought to the possibility he might be robbed one day. He figured that sort of thing only happened to other people, not him.

Then he was robbed. At gunpoint.

“It kind of woke me up,” Murphy said. “You think you’re pretty safe most places, then you realize just how unsafe you are when somebody sticks a gun in your face.”

Murphy was robbed back in November. Since that time there have been at least four separate armed robbery incidents reported along Water Avenue between the St. James Hotel and Warren’s Tavern.

The latest incident took place Saturday night about 9:30 p.m. when three people were robbed shortly after they parked their car prior to entering Warren’s Tavern. According to police reports, a lone gunman with a small caliber gun approached the two males and one female and demanded money.

“He put a gun to her head and took her purse,” said Wanda Bush, owner of Warren’s Tavern. “She ran in here all nervous and frightened and everything. I thought at first they’d had an accident. Finally, I got enough information out of her to know they’d been robbed, and I dialed 911.”

Bush said police arrived on the scene “almost immediately,” but that the robber had fled on foot in the direction of Arsenal Place. Police summoned Hero, the K-9 dog that was recently rescued from a forced retirement by the Selma City Council, but he was unable to pick up the robber’s trail.

“This one hit home,” an obviously upset Bush said. “I’ve known the kids this happened to just about all their lives. They were coming here. That makes it personal. It’s not good for business, it’s not good for Selma for this kind of thing to happen. It’ll happen again if they don’t do something to stop it. Somebody’s going to end up getting killed.”

Bush said an employee at the St. James Hotel was robbed after leaving Warren’s Tavern in December. On New Year’s Eve, a woman was robbed just outside the Selma One Hour Cleaners at the corner of Water Avenue and Lauderdale Street around 5 p.m.

Katrina Adams, a clerk at the cleaners, recalled, “It happened right out front. The lady came in screaming, ‘Dial 911! Dial 911!’ I was so nervous I started dialing 87- first. We figure they’re going to hit us next.”

Murphy said he was returning to his truck on Water Avenue when he was approached by two men back in November.

“One came up in front and as I started to open the door another one came up behind me saying, ‘Give it up! Give it up! Give it up!'” Murphy said.

Murphy said he quickly decided not to argue with the two robbers.

“When somebody sticks a gun in your face you don’t know what kind of head’s on them shoulders,” he pointed out. “When I looked down the barrel of that gun, I realized how unsafe I really was. Anybody who would rob somebody ain’t too stable anyway.

“It’s a dangerous situation. Looks like somebody is going to get killed before it’s all over.”