Inside look at Topeka armed robbery, community leaders and neighboring businesses react

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Topeka police say at 2:25 p.m. they received a call of an armed robbery at Tacos El Sol on 2124 SE 6th street.

The owner Maria Mier said she was on the phone with a customer in the back of the restaurant when she heard some commotion.

The employee working the counter described the suspect as an older white male. She said he pointed a gun at her, demanding money.

Mier said a customer yelled at the suspect, prompting him to shoot at the wall and run out of the restaurant. 

No one was injured in the robbery.

“It’s a relief,” said Mier. “Everyone is okay.”

Police say they are still looking for the suspect.

Luis Estrada, a customer of Taco El Sol and a Topeka community leader said while he was concerned by the robbery, he wasn’t susprised that it happened. 

“The weather is turning and people are a little more brazen to commit things like this are out now,” said Estrada. “That’s when we as a community need to step up and be more vigilant and more supportive of each other.”

John Benedict owns a fast food restaurant right down the street from Taco El Sol. In his twenty years in business, he said he’s only been robbed once, but it was enough to make him to extra precautions.

He’s since installed video cameras and bought a gun.

Despite the incident, he doesn’t consider the area to be a bad neighborhood.

“I know it’s one of the lower income sides of town, but I don’t necessarily think that makes it a crime area.”

Estrada said getting business owners in the area more involved with the neighborhood can help turn the East side’s reputation around. 

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