Merchant asks 'who's next?' in NSB crime wave

NEW SMYRNA BEACH -- Harry Lodia, manager of the Marathon gas station and convenience store on North Dixie asked aloud what is likely on the minds of many merchants in the wake of a would-be robber's attempt to hold up the Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy up the street when he was shot dead earlier today: "Who's next?"
With merchants already struggling to make an honest living in an ailing economy, it seems criminals are becoming more desperate, too, Lodia, said he worries about the safety not only of employees, but their customers as well.
"You just never know if you are next," said Lodia, who is keenly aware of New Smyrna Beach's recent crime wave. He's not alone.

Several merchants near the Medicine Shoppe closed shortly after the 10:15 a.m. armed robber was shot to death by a security guard hired by the pharmacy.
Merchants who asked not to be identified said they had heard the pharmacy hired a retired sheriff's deputy to work in plain clothes and provide security after rumors the pharmacy was going to be robbed of drugs -- specifically, the pain-killer Oxycodone, also known on the street as Oxycontin.
The pharmacy even posted a sign inside stating it did not stock this particular drug.
Still that didn't stop this morning's robber.
New Smyrna Beach police would not specify the type of drug the robber, described as a white man wearing a mask, sought when he stuck a gun in the pharmacist's face before the security guard shot him in the face.
This robbery attempt followed a similar one Jan. 31 at the Winn-Dixie in-store pharmacy, in which a white man wearing a hooded sweatshirt handed the pharmacist a note, stating he had a gun and wanted Oxycodone. He even specified the pill dosages in milligrams before fleeing with an unspecfied amount of the pain-killers.
Lodia wouldn't comment on his business's security measures, but said he wouldn't be surprised if more businesses armed their employees or hire armed plain-clothes security personnel.
Just the other day, Lodia told a woman who tried to steal a can of beer that he'd call the cops next time she showed up at Marathon.

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Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet newspaper serving the Daytona Beach-New Smyrna Beach / Sanford-Orlando metropolitan region via HeadlineSurfer.com. Florida's first around-the-clock newspaper was launched April 7, 2008, in New Smyrna Beach, initially as NSBNews.net and VolusiaNews.net. Headline Surfer is a registered trademark of NSB News LLC. Headline Surfer® Publisher Henry Frederick, is recognized as one of Florida's top award-winning cops & courts reporters, who has received more awards for such coverage than any other reporter working in Central Florida. He's the top journalist in the Florida Press Club two years running with seven journalism awards for 15 breaking news and investigative stories, three blogs and top internet site. He's the only reporter to win awards for coverage of the Trayvon Martin slaying as well as the subsequent George Zimmerman murder trial acquittal in Sanford. He's also won state, regional and national journalism awards for his coverage of cops and courts fear 8 1/2 years at the Daytona Beach News-Journal, where he witnessed and reported on the execution of serial killer Aileen Wuornos and covered the civil trial brought by NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt's widow to keep his autopsy files sealed. Before that before he covered cops & courts for Gannett Suburban Newspapers / The Journal News in Westchester and Rockland counties in New York, where he won a highly-coveted Associated Press Award for breaking news. Before launching the 24/7 internet newspaper in 2008, he was an award-winning city editor for the Taunton Daily Gazette, in his native Massachusetts for two years, winning a national investigative award on municipal corruption. The first of Frederick's three books, for which he has secured publishing rights, is called "Creepy Ass Cracker" (840 pages, Xlibris), which will hit bookstores in September. His second book, "Wrestling ReWind," is expected to be published in January 2015. The third book is not yet titled.
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