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    7-Eleven Stores Are Targets in Robbery Spree

    Police search for men suspected of robbing 25 stores in the last 16 months.

    LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Police Department asked for help from the public yesterday to track down bandits responsible for armed robberies at 25 7-Eleven convenience stores in Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties since July 2003. The most recent robbery took place in the North Hollywood area last Tuesday, according to KABC-TV.

    "The suspects appear to be turning up their level of violence, and the Los Angeles Police Department is requesting the public's help in identifying them," said a statement from the LAPD's Robbery-Homicide Division.

    Typically, the armed robbers enter the businesses during the early morning hours, force employees into a back room or cooler and frequently bind them, according to the statement as reported by KABC-TV.

    The employees are often assaulted, suffering scrapes, bumps and bruises. But in several of the most recent heists, victims were beaten so badly as to require hospitalization, and the gunman took money from registers and removed safes. causing considerable damage, the statement said.

    At a 7-Eleven in Torrance, Calif., one of the men fought with a customer and was caught on surveillance video, which ended when the robber struck the customer in the head with a metal dolly, reported NBC News.

    The men have worn ski masks during some of the robberies and often break the surveillance camera or take the surveillance videotape, according to NBC.

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