A Philadelphia gas station owner has hired "heavily armed" security guards to guard his business and protect his employees and customers from the area's rampant crime.
Neil Patel, operator of a Karco gas station, told Fox News after his store was ransacked repeatedly, he decided to employ Pennsylvania's S.I.T.E. state troopers, who wear Kevlar vests and carry AR-15s or shotguns:
They are forcing us to hire the security, high-level security, state level... We are tired of this nonsense; robbery, drug trafficking, hanging around, gangs.
A North Philly owner says he's had enough violent crime at his gas station so he's hired these guys to protect his customers and store.
Does this make you feel safer? Or uncomfortable. pic.twitter.com/ZOXvUxTvyW
- Jason Martinez (@JasonFox29) December 6, 2022
Prior to engaging the forces, Patel's car was broken into and an ATM was stolen from his gas station, not to mention the constant looting of his store. S.I.T.E. Chief Andre Boyer elaborated:
We wear Kevlar, we are trained, my guards go to training every other week, they're proficient with [their guns] and with their taser, they know the law... We're Pennsylvania State Agents and we're not security. Basically, what we do is security details when the public calls upon us when the police can't be there.
Gas station robberies triple in number
According to ABC7 News, crime in Philadelphia has increased in recent years, and gun thefts at gas stations have tripled. Patel's decision to tighten security received mixed reactions from residents and neighbors. "The first week, there was tension from the public seeing someone with an AR shotgun walking around." Boyer said. "Some people asked, 'Why are you here, are we in Beirut?'”
According to Patel, he is open to criticism, but he justifies his decision and points out that he does not understand how "violent people, they carry the guns, they're not afraid of them? This is the protection for the neighborhood and the customers."
Under Pennsylvania law, property owners are responsible for protecting customers from known hazards while on their property. Since he hired security forces three weeks ago, his business has not experienced any incidents or crimes.