EDISON – After a spree of gas station robberies – including a few violent incidents – Edison Council President Charles Tomaro is urging every Middlesex County town to require 24-hour businesses to install video surveillance systems.
The Edison Township Council is expected to adopt the ordinance on Wednesday that Tomaro drafted, requiring 24-hour gas stations and convenience stores in town to be equipped with surveillance systems for the protection and safety of their employees.
“This is not only an Edison issue. This safety precaution should be required in every Middlesex County community. It’s just as necessary in East Brunswick, North Brunswick and South Amboy as it is in Edison, Metuchen or Woodbridge,” said Tomaro. “Unfortunately, no community is immune from these types of crimes.”
“Criminals would be less likely to target gas stations and other all-night businesses if they know their photograph and video-evidence will be in police officers’ hands within minutes of the crime,” said Tomaro. “My hope is for every town in Middlesex County to follow Edison’s lead.”
Tomaro will make Edison’s ordinance available to mayors and governing bodies throughout Middlesex County. “Many 24-hour businesses already have surveillance cameras and other security measures. For those that don’t, this will add a layer of protection for their employees,” said Tomaro.
Edison’s ordinance requires new and existing gas stations and convenience stores that operate 24-hours to install and maintain surveillance camera systems with videotape backups.
The measure authorizes police to issue fines from $250 to $1,000 to businesses that do not comply or fail to maintain an operable surveillance system. Violations could also result in revocation of the town-issued business license.
Eleven Edison gas stations have been robbed since last May and robbers have struck other all-night businesses in nearby towns. Tomaro said he drafted the ordinance after recent incidents on:
o April 24, when a Route 1 gas station attendant was hit in the head with a metal rod during a robbery in the early morning hours.
o April 22, a knife-wielding man robbed a King Georges Post Road gas station in Fords and then pulled out a handgun when the attendant chased him.
o April 15, an attendant at a Metuchen gas station grappled with two robbers and was hit in the head with a metal object during a nighttime robbery.
o April 5, two bat-wielding men in ski masks choked an attendant at Route 1 gas station in Edison before they robbed him.
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