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Crime

Small Business Robbed at Gun Point Twice in a Month in Church Hill

We have some very unfortunate news to share with you today. If you recall, less than a month ago, we posted a story about a small business here in Church Hill that was robbed at gunpoint (you can read that story here).

We got a call that this same business was robbed AGAIN Wednesday night (July 25th) around 8p. The business, no longer wanting to remain anonymous, is Seven Hills Studio on 25th and Clay. Luckily, no one was hurt but this is something that is inexcusable.

Elizabeth Nall, owner-operator of Seven Hills Studio, is a long time Church Hill resident having grown up in this same neighborhood. This situation has been very challenging for her and her staff. Not feeling like you’re safe in your own space. Feeling violated.

This story began a little earlier in the day and maybe that will help set the stage.

This starts at Gather, owned by Melissa Micou, which as most of you know is a beautiful little plant shop that sits on Marshall St here in the Church Hill neighborhood in Richmond, VA (soon moving to a new space). Melissa was in Gather and the front door was unlocked but she wasn’t actually open. She was inside prepping the store to move to her new location.

It was over 90 degrees that day and a customer walked in wearing a printed black Sweatshirt/hoodie. Hood was up and drawn tight around his face hiding most features. Melissa told the customer they were closed and was immediately set on edge and felt unsafe. Not just by someone wearing a hoodie with the hood drawn tight in 90-degree weather but also because the customer wouldn’t look at her and kept shuffling around like he was nervous. The man in question mumbled that he had a question and started to reach into the pocket of his hoodie. Luckily, the wind just happened to blow open the door at that moment. The man, caught off guard, turned around to shut the door and Melissa quickly took this opportunity to go around the counter and step outside. She told the man that he could ask his question outside. Her neighbor also happened to be outside at that time and he noticed Melissa seemed upset so walked over. When the customer made eye contact with the neighbor he quickly left the store and briskly walked down the street without another word.

Photo Credit – Gather Instagram @gather.store

Melissa was a little shaken and was confident that she had just avoided being robbed. Thank God for that gust of wind and instincts. Melissa also had the forethought that if it was an attempted robbery the man failed and would probably be going somewhere else soon. Melissa did everything she could to notify the neighborhood. 911. Contacting local businesses. Instagram. Contacting us here at CHPN. The really unfortunate thing is that the 911 operator would not take a description over the phone. The 911 operator also said they couldn’t do anything unless Melissa stayed at the store to meet an officer which she couldn’t at that moment because she had to pick up her kids from school. Melissa then made another call to an RPD contact and was notified the officer had retired and the message she left for the new officer who took over was never returned.

Why is this story so important? Because, just a few hours later, that same man went into Seven Hills Studio and robbed them. Melissa was able to watch the surveillance video you can see part of here and verify it was the same man in the exact same clothes.

First, if you recognize this man or have any information regarding this incident please call crime stoppers at (804) 780-1000.

We had a chance to sit down with Elizabeth Nall, owner-operator of Seven Hills Studio. This incident happened when they were closing right at 8p. Elizabeth had just left the studio an hour earlier. In the shop was a front desk person but there was also a client and stylist in the back. Seven Hills STudio actually keeps the front door locked since the last time/first time they were robbed not even a month ago. However, the front desk person had unlocked the door because the client was leaving momentarily and that was when the assailant entered, threatened the front desk person, and stole the cash on hand.

When asked about her staff Elizabeth said they’re “Tough. Awesome. Resilient. At this point irritated. The things we’ve had to traverse have brought us closer together. It’s a very positive work environment and we draw on each other’s strengths”.

I want to put this in perspective. This is a single individual that has robbed this location twice. As a community, we have to demand action by the police. We want to grow this neighborhood and make it a place for all to enjoy but part of that is stopping the small handful of people that want to ruin that for everyone. There can be no tolerance for this type of potentially violent crime.

When you attend a 7th district meeting and the heads of RPD tell you to report suspicious activity that is well and good but they need to ACT on those reports (and coordinate/instruct 911 operators to pass along info as necessary). Especially one as serious as this when Gather was potentially robbed just hours earlier and the owner of that store tried to notify the police but no action was taken.

With that in mind, what can we do as a community? I have heard suggestions of a phone tree to keep business owners in the loop. There are always mentions of a neighborhood watch. Ultimately, I think all are viable ideas it just needs someone to take the lead and coordinate it.

Please share your idea/thoughts in the comments AND make sure and get an appointment at Seven Hills Studio (804) 344-0620). They’re an awesome bunch in a beautiful space.

I have to trust the community to hold us up. To actually support us through this and have it be more of a reason to come here and to say, yes, we understand, we live here too. It’s not just on us to fight against this. – Elizabeth Nall

We will not let crimes like this slide, we will not let it define us as a community, and we will NOT let a few people intimidate us in our own neighborhood from living our lives or patronizing our great local businesses.

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Zapp Morris
Zapp Morris
2 years ago

Simple solution….edc a firearm, defend yourself and don’t rely on the government to protect you from those who would do you harm.

People like the man that did this only speak one language, if you start speaking it they will listen.

This is happening in the “good” part of Church Hill. Imagine what it’s like living in the less refined areas….

Jeannie Casey Saxton
Jeannie Casey Saxton
2 years ago

I got my hair cut yesterday and they never mentioned it!

Telly Hankton
Telly Hankton
2 years ago
Reply to  Zapp Morris

Even simpler solution: ? Stop gentrifying neighborhoods! Jesus, white people. It’s not that hard. Stop oppression. Stop creating & oppressing neighborhoods of their resources, then complain when the have-not’s come for those who have. Lol! It’s not rocket science. Care more, with deeper context to fully understand the damn problem. But noooooooo, you sound like the typical white European colonizer, “shoot them” ?????

Debra Miller
Debra Miller
2 years ago

Some businesses are going cashless and it’s posted on the front door. Maybe consider it.

Telly Hankton
Telly Hankton
2 years ago

Translation: “We’re sorry that poor Black people are being uprooted and forced out of their life long homes (again, and again) but hey, there’s no need to get violent about it”

Lol! Those sentiments are literally symbolic to apologetic American colonialism.

jean Mcdaniel
jean Mcdaniel
2 years ago

I was chastised for “complaining ” that the police had not contacted me for my car break in. Well, I STILL have not been contacted and I have video clearly showing faces of the THUGS that did it even with hoodies pulled upon a hot, s teamy night. What the hell does it take?

I realize that hold ups at gun point and shootings should take priority, however, I think that when you have recognizable images of criminals, the police would be a little bit interested.

Trebor Noteek
Trebor Noteek
2 years ago
Reply to  Zapp Morris

Everything isn’t the white man’s fault. I was born to poverty, went to public schools, and busted my ass to get where I am. I’ve been pushed out of my job more than once by illegal immigrants and by affirmative action. she put a black guy and a white guy side-by-side and give them the exact same credentials and they’re going to hire the black guy every single f****** time but yet I have white privilege right?

Trebor Noteek
Trebor Noteek
2 years ago
Reply to  Zapp Morris

As soon as people quit blaming the white man they will be able to progress. But that’ll never happen. It’s been 200 years. Your not a slave. I’m not an owner.

Wendy Gayle March
Wendy Gayle March
2 years ago
Reply to  Telly Hankton

Have more coffee and a poop.

Ryan Herndon
Ryan Herndon
2 years ago
Reply to  Telly Hankton

Blame the victim much?

dontmincewords
dontmincewords
2 years ago

Not again. So sorry. I think the phone tree, micro/local social alerts, cameras, etc.. may help. A zillion years ago, we used to do neighborhood watch patrols in the Fan – on foot and in cars. I’m up for helping any way I can, beginning with laying on the pressure on the RPD.

Zapp Morris
Zapp Morris
2 years ago
Reply to  Zapp Morris

Telly Hankton so legally purchasing property, fixing it up, and making the neighborhood and city a better place to live is oppression? ??? I wouldn’t consider myself a “have”. Got kicked out of my parents house(in the shittier part of CH) at 18 with nothing and I’ve worked my ass off to get where I am today. If someone wants to come and try to deprive me of what I’ve earned? That won’t happen without a fight, it’s simply called self defense. This nonsense is why I moved out of CH 2 years ago, and I’ll be damned if I… Read more »

Telly Hankton
Telly Hankton
2 years ago
Reply to  Zapp Morris

Trebor Noteek white men colonized 90% of the world, never rectified slavery or oppression properly & the president is a white supremacist.

Yup, not the white mans fault at all.

Pixie Rivers
Pixie Rivers
2 years ago
Reply to  Telly Hankton

If you feel that strongly about colonialism you should leave. Or at the very least, give up alllll your possessions to a “marginalized” person. If you plan on doing neither then please STFU.

Anna Diaz
Anna Diaz
2 years ago

simpl solutions Stop pushing out lower income class people from the city. stop turning buildings into lofts and into community spaces and most of all invest more into public schools. this city is a disgrace knowing school rely on non profits and parents’ donations of toilet paper. as some who’s a transplant to Richmond from some time ago, it really baffles me how separated different class groups coincide in this city. more so with the recent influx of Richmond non natives.

Anna Diaz
Anna Diaz
2 years ago
Reply to  Zapp Morris

I almost died in a drive by off of cary and Robinson after I was trying to have some drinks with friends after a show. That was 3 years ago. is that the good side or bad side of the fan? just asking

Chris Dosier
Chris Dosier
2 years ago
Reply to  Telly Hankton

Yeah it’s so terrible we now have places like this and nice restaurants in Churchill instead of another corner store selling booze and cigarettes or another pay day loan place. I am curious how people are being forced out of their ‘life long homes’ when the city has programs that will eliminate property taxes for anyone over 65 or on disability, etc. So people are not forced out of their homes if the neighborhood so, so tragically actually improves. This is specifically for neighborhoods to have private money incentivized to fix the blight still present in many places. But yeah,… Read more »

Zapp Morris
Zapp Morris
2 years ago
Reply to  Anna Diaz

So we’re blaming the victim of a robbery now? Say what?

Rachel Woolwine Davis
Rachel Woolwine Davis
2 years ago

Thanks CHPN. I agree.

Daniil Kleyman
Daniil Kleyman
2 years ago

Anyone that excuses this sort of violent crime by blaming gentrification or “oppression” is a piece of human garbage. If you think it’s ok to rob honest working people at gun point for any reason, you are a piece of shit that needs to be swept into the gutter as quickly as possible. Period. End of argument.

Telly Hankton
Telly Hankton
2 years ago
Reply to  Telly Hankton

Chris Dosier Well if you’d like to acknowledge ONE side of Church Hill gentrification, with your lack of contextual thinking, then sure bro. Cool story. We’ve heard it all before. Good job. Continue on with the destruction of Black people & their neighborhoods. I mean, all of the past white leaders over 400yrs have used that same ideal and look where we’re at.

Chris Dosier
Chris Dosier
2 years ago
Reply to  Anna Diaz

So your solution is to stop investing in the neighborhood except for schools? So when the students are out of school 17 hours of the day and are in dilapidated houses that will make everything better?

You do realize the renovated properties leads to increased tax revenue, which I will agree should be spent more on fixing the school buildings, but maybe blame city hall for their incompetence instead of blaming shop owners for opening in a neighborhood that up until a few years ago they never would have or could have had not private investment happened in the area.

Anna Diaz
Anna Diaz
2 years ago
Reply to  Anna Diaz

no. I’m blaming the city of Richmond for the way they’re carrying out this city revitalization. I honestly don’t see This any different from when a student leaves a laptop in plain sight. I’ve had friends who were stylists there, it’s a nice place. I really feel bad for them. I don’t think it’s a bad idea for owners to go take a shooting class and own a firearm to protect their shop. If anything I’m just saying there are going to be a lot more desperate people trying to find ways to make ends meet. this city is putting… Read more »

SA Chaplin
SA Chaplin
2 years ago

For what it’s worth, DaVinci’s on Brookland Park Blvd. posts this sign in their front window: “No Hoodies”

Chris Dosier
Chris Dosier
2 years ago
Reply to  Telly Hankton

Telly Hankton Richmond hasn’t had a white mayor in 17 years and the last one was Tim Kaine… so yeah good point man, the problem with the revitalization of Churchill has been white leaders.

Telly Hankton
Telly Hankton
2 years ago
Reply to  Telly Hankton

Chris Dosier Yea, these arguments exemplify that you’re just a mediocre white man with basic illogical responses to rectifying racism. *Yawns*

Chris Dosier
Chris Dosier
2 years ago
Reply to  Anna Diaz

Anna Diaz well I’ll agree with you on the City of Richmond mismanagement part.

Anna Diaz
Anna Diaz
2 years ago
Reply to  Anna Diaz

Chris Dosier my solution is to invest in the neighborhoods. Bringing people into Richmond who have little respect or knowledge for the current community to bump up property taxes is wrong. City of Richmond can do so much better. These 2 robberies could should have been avoided

Michael Hild
Michael Hild
2 years ago

I wonder if this is the same criminal who robbed the Family Dollar in Manchester/Blackwell 4 separate times in quick succession. These repeat hits of vulnerable places are often related and can be spread throughout the city (e.g. the restaurant burgler heist that hit a half dozen different restaurants including Boulevard Burger & Brew until he was caught). https://wtvr.com/2018/07/17/suspect-accused-of-robbing-richmond-family-dollar-four-times/

Cheyenne Varner
Cheyenne Varner
2 years ago

There are multiple ways to approach an issue. Reactive and preventative. The reactive way to approach an issue like this often results in loss of life, whether by death or incarceration. Some people will say that’s justified. The preventative way to approach an issue like this opens a door for both parties to grow and thrive. Some will says that’s naive. What I hear in this thread is folks speaking for the reactive way and being challenged by those who want them to see the other side, something they’ve likely not personally experienced. What I hear in this thread is… Read more »

Nathan
Nathan
2 years ago

Criminals like easy targets. Arm yourself.

HW
HW
2 years ago

Have you all been in touch with RPD? What was RPD’s response and response time to 7 Hills? Their response to The Gather situation seems appropriate. What you’ve described here while unfortunate, does not seem to evidence a crime, which absent additional information from a witness or victim likely foreclosed dispatching resources. To solutions, trimming back the trees outside their front door and enhanced parking enforcement would likely go a long way to making their vestibule more visible.

UH
UH
2 years ago

So sorry for both business’s experiences. Just to clarify, do they think this was in fact the same individual that robbed Seven Hills last time?

Telly Hankton
Telly Hankton
2 years ago
Reply to  Zapp Morris

Anna Diaz Ummmm, yea, usually when people are poor, oppressed, disenfranchised by their government & forced into ghettos, there’s going to be high crime. This isn’t just Blacks, this isn’t just America – it’s global. How about educate yourself and realize the deeper context to you almost being killed. Because I dunno, fuck man, the world doesn’t revolve around you trying to have some cheap drinks in a gentrified community.

Chris Dosier
Chris Dosier
2 years ago
Reply to  Telly Hankton

Telly Hankton doing a little self projection there no? Try taking a look in the mirror. Let’s hear your brilliant solutions that would A) improve the neighborhood by reducing the blight and dilapidated houses, B ) have businesses want to relocate or establish themselves in Churchill, and C ) reduce crime in the area, and D )do the aforementioned without private investment from the white man since anything we do is because we are racists and just want to hold you down. Until then, keep blaming others bro, you’re on a roll with that.

Telly Hankton
Telly Hankton
2 years ago
Reply to  Telly Hankton

Chris Dosier Lol! Man go away with these lengthy, mansplaining word salads. You legit have not made one point and all of your comments are short stories.

Chris Dosier
Chris Dosier
2 years ago
Reply to  Telly Hankton

Telly Hankton so you got nothing. That’s what I figured. Sorry for actually asking you for a solution, it is easier to just blame others.

BAF
BAF
2 years ago

Am I reading this correctly? The same establishment was hit by the same robber twice? The police have to make this a priority or this guy is going to keep doing it.

Telly Hankton
Telly Hankton
2 years ago
Reply to  Telly Hankton

Chris Dosier You keep asking questions that don’t pertain to your argument, nor do they have logical answers. You sound like the usual long-winded man who thinks in terms of dichotomy. You’re presenting yes or no propositions, when the situation is no where near that simple. So no, I don’t want to waste my time talking to you lol!

Telly Hankton
Telly Hankton
2 years ago
Reply to  Telly Hankton

Chris Dosier And you’re asking my solution when I’ve stated it already ? STOP GENTRIFYING POOR BLACK COMMUNITIES & COMPLAINING THAT GENTRIFICATION IS HARD! Lol

Chris Dosier
Chris Dosier
2 years ago
Reply to  Telly Hankton

Telly Hankton so your solution is keeping poor black people poor. Sounds like a great fix. You should run for office. The reason you find my questions illogical is because they are pointing out the fallacies of what you are asking for. Neighborhoods don’t just magically increase in value without investment or recruit businesses without a market to which it can sell it’s goods. And as I have pointed out the city has instituted programs that mitigate the issue of rising property taxes due to neighborhood improvement so people who have lived somewhere their whole life is not forced out… Read more »

Lindsey LeCroy
Lindsey LeCroy
2 years ago

Oh my gosh. I get my haircut there! Crazy. Won’t stop me!

Katherine Jester
Katherine Jester
2 years ago

I bet the moderators are now understanding why John Murden doesn’t host this any longer.

rita
rita
2 years ago

Get a system where you have to buzz individuals in. Or, have an alarm button placed under the desk just like the banks. So sad.

Trebor Noteek
Trebor Noteek
2 years ago
Reply to  Zapp Morris

In reply to Zapp Morris. I guess you have the same feelings towards this?

Church Hill People's News
Church Hill People's News
2 years ago

In reply to Katherine Jester. Public discourse about things like this is always contentious. However, it is needed. We’re tough. We can take it 🙂

Sharon Larkins-Pederson
Sharon Larkins-Pederson
2 years ago

will their insurance cover their losses?

Leon Bradby
Leon Bradby
2 years ago

I totally agree with Church Hill People’s News.

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