No more cafes for wounded worker
The wife of an armed robbery victim at the Treasure Island Internet Gaming Cafe said he’s done working at the internet cafe after he and another employee were shot Friday morning.
The Lake City Police Department said it was the second armed robbery at the Treasure Island location on 1472 W. U.S. Highway 90 and the third armed robbery of an internet cafe in the city limits since April.
They did not disclose the amount of money that might have been stolen.
According to a press release, the employees, unnamed by police, were flown to UF Health Shands in Gainesville with leg wounds and their conditions are unknown.
However, the wife of one of the employees has confirmed that her husband is in stable condition.
“We’re very thankful right now,” said Michelle Petry-Shaw. “He’s in stable condition, and he’s being treated and observed. ... It’s gonna be a long recovery.”
Petry-Shaw said her husband, Charles “Chuck” Shaw, is probably headed for a career change now.
“I believe his career in internet cafes — he is retired. We both made that call at the same time,” she said. “It’s not worth your life.”
According to a press release, the robbery took place around 1:35 a.m. Friday.
LCPD said witnesses described two black males entering the business and ordering all the customers to the ground.
At some point, the release said, at least one of the suspects brandished a firearm while Shaw and the other employee were gathering the money.
By the time officers arrived, the suspects had fled on foot and the two employees had been shot in the leg, according to LCPD.
The police said there is no description of the suspects available at this time.
“It’s important that they catch these people,” Petry-Shaw said. “If someone were to cowardly shoot two people trying to do their jobs and make a living for their family, who did not resist in any way — and they got what they came for — and they shot them anyway ... I’m at a loss.
“I don’t even know what to think about it,” she said. “I’m just so grateful that my husband made it out with his life.”
Police Chief Argatha Gilmore also condemned the incident and urged residents to stay vigilant.
“As we continue working to identify the two robbers involved, I ask that all citizens who choose to patronize internet cafes in the meantime remain alert,” she said in the press release. “Stay aware of your surroundings, and call law enforcement if you see anything suspicious.”
Lake City-Columbia County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Dennille Decker presented research earlier this week indicating that the county has at least 23 internet cafes, triple that of surrounding counties.
The research Decker presented to the Lake City Council on Monday showed that LCPD has responded to 380 calls at 10 casinos in the city limits within the last year alone.
Twenty of the calls, she said, appear to have been theft- or robbery-related.
“It’s a substantial problem,” Decker told the council, “and it’s something we need to address going forward.”