In the course of the past year, Middle Tennessee has seen more than 10 robberies of Dollar General stores.
Three of them have taken place in Columbia where police are now investigating the possibility of a connection between the store chain's two most recent robberies.
Sunday at 8 p.m., surveillance video showed two men in black jackets and blue bandanas entering the Nashville Highway Dollar General in Columbia. One of the men kept an employee at gunpoint while a second employee was brought out with his hands up. The robbers forced him over to the store's safe before heading out on foot.
A different Columbia Dollar General on James Campbell Boulevard was just robbed on Dec. 2. That one also involved two armed men in Converse gear at the same hour on a Sunday night. Police believe these are different men, but they could be connected.
"I know when I go into a store, whether it be Dollar General or Wal-Mart, there's going to be a lot of cash there," said Det. Carl Shrake of the Columbia Police Department.
Last summer, six Columbia businesses, including a Dollar General, were robbed by pairs of men. Surveillance video caught a failed attempt at yet another Dollar General robbery. Columbia police said charges are still pending on four suspects in the summer robberies. They're unsure why Dollar General has continued to be a target.
"We've had quite a few," said Shrake. "I guess that's just another day in law enforcement."
Police said these Dollar General stores are already doing what they should to stop these robberies with bright lighting at the front of the store and good surveillance cameras. A spokesperson for Dollar General told Channel 4 the company invests in a number of security measures to ensure the safety of employees and customers. For security reasons, they do not disclose those measures.