JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A violent crime spree is unfolding in Jacksonville.
Action News' Lynnsey Gardner found several armed men are targeting one business chain and beating their employees.
Three armed robberies in the last three weeks-- all at Advance Auto Parts stores. Police say employees were tied up with zip ties, forced to the ground and pistol whipped. The criminals are still out there.
We found store surveillance cameras inside one of the three Advance Auto Parts -- stormed by armed robbers.
Police said if there are any images of suspects or if the three robberies are connected they won't comment on the investigations at all.
"I think more people ought to be armed -- when they come flying in there, they should be met with a gun, " said Bernard Aebly.
Aebly's backyard borders the Advanced Auto Parts store off Lem Turner-- one of the three targeted. The same Northside neighborhood he's called home for more than 40 years.
"This has always been a quiet neighborhood. I've always called it my piece of paradise. I don't know what's going on," Aebly said.
We do know from incident reports, two to three armed men beat employees in the head with guns-witnesses say one suspect had an assault rifle. Reports I obtained detail how the bandits tied up employees, and even kicked them on the ground.
The thieves then took money from registers and the safe. All three robberies happened near closing time.
Each time, the robbers get their money and get away.
"These people who don't believe in snitching on people they know who are doing it-- sooner or later it's going to come back and get them," Abely said.
Action News talked with several employees who were still shaken -- their corporate office wouldn't let them share their stories.
Advance Auto Parts sent us the following statement: Advance Auto Parts is fully cooperating with local law enforcement regarding the three robberies that have occurred in Jacksonville. Our customer and Team Members' safety is our utmost concern and we will conduct on our own investigation in to the incidents as well. We have offered counseling services to all Team Members at the stores as well.
Action News also asked the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office if any other Advance Auto Parts have been robbed in the new year. They are still processing our request for that information.