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    Michigan Retailers Go on Watch

    Detroit area gas stations and food stores establish safe havens for students and seniors.

    DETROIT -- The Michigan Food and Beverage Association (MFBA) and Metro Detroit Service Stations (MDSS) yesterday kicked off "Safe Havens," a program of Alert Vendors On Watch (AVOW) in association with the Detroit Police Department, Wayne County Sheriff, and Detroit and Wayne County governments. As part of the program, gas stations and convenience stores will assist citizens by providing safe refuge for them if they go to their establishments and appear to be experiencing distress of any kind by contacting local law enforcement officers.

    The program was launched yesterday at a Detroit BP gas station. Officials also took time to honor Eddie Abro, owner of Holiday Food Store and Joe Bazzi, owner of the hosting BP station for their assistance to an elderly gentleman who was forced to the Holiday Food Store by two thieves who attempted to have him cash a check at the store. With the help of these proprietors, the two criminals were apprehended. The owners will receive Good Citizen Awards for helping provide a Safe Haven for the distressed individual.

    The AVOW program was started by MFBA eight years ago to encourage retailers and the drivers of their supplier trucks to watch for crime affecting students on the way to and from school. The Safe Haven program begun today evolved from the AVOW program and is a program jointly sponsored by MFBA and MDSS, the city, the county and the Detroit Police Department.

    Members of both organizations who participate in this program will eventually display signs indicating their establishments are Safe Havens for students and others in the area. "We want to help provide a safer environment for our communities," said Edward Deeb, president of the Food and Beverage Association. "When someone is in distress or feels threatened in any way, we want them to know someone is there to help."

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