As detectives continue to look for two young people suspected of committing armed robberies in Benson and Sierra Vista last week, an outpouring of support from people all across Cochise County and even Tucson is helping a Benson business financially recover.
CoolFMOnline.com interviews the Benson Donuts owner about the recent armed robbery
Benson Donuts was victimized around 7:30 a.m. on Feb. 18, just one hour after the same man and woman hit one of the Circle K stores in Sierra Vista. While the police do their part, community members are paying it forward for May, who has operated Benson Donuts for the last 16 years off Interstate 10 at Exit 204 (Ocotillo Road).
Arizona Daily Independent is not using May’s last name to protect her privacy.
Several people suggested a crowdfunding project to help recoup the owner’s losses, but one longtime customer had a better idea.
“I thought she would feel the love more if people just came in, bought donuts from her, tipped her extra if they could, and maybe left a donation if they could afford to do so,” Natalie Sabin told CoolFMOnline.com. “Just to show her how much she meant to us, and it’s not just about the donuts. It hurt our hearts to see that this happened to her.”
According to police reports, the couple -described as young and white- robbed a Circle K convenience store in Sierra Vista around 6:40 a.m. on Feb. 18. The man presented a knife and went behind the counter to take money out of the cash registers.
The man appears to be 6’ to 6’ 2” tall with a thin build, while the woman is estimated at 5’ 3” to 5’ 5” tall.
Less than an hour later, the couple walks into Benson Donuts located off Interstate 10 at Exit 204 (Ocotillo Road). In the Benson Donuts surveillance video, the suspects wear masks as well as distinctive hoodies. They also keep their hands covered or in their pockets as they select a dozen donuts.
The man then presents a knife to the owner and demands the money from her cash register. What is very helpful, according to detectives, is the video from Benson Donuts also recorded the suspects’ voices.
The morning after the robbery, owner May was back at work before sunrise getting ready for the new day. However, within hours she was sold out after word of her experience and financial loss was publicized on social media.
The same overwhelming turnout occurred throughout the weekend and this week, sometimes leaving customers lined up outside for several minutes. And no one seems to be complaining, even if they arrive after everything is sold out, like JoAnn Mazza did last week.
“What happened to May and her family is outrageous and justice needs to be swift, but for now I’m glad to see people act on their outrage by showing their support one donut or danish at a time, rather than just say ‘how horrible for her,’” Mazza told Arizona Daily Independent.
On Wednesday morning, vehicles from Arkansas, Wyoming, and Ohio were in the Benson Donuts’ parking lot. Some customers are snowbirds who patronize the store every winter, while Brad and Gillian Olsen of Ohio were making their first stop.
“We heard about the robbery from someone at the RV Park we’re staying at in Tucson,” Gillian Olsen said. “We wanted to drive down to Benson and show our support. And of course we’re taking a few dozen back to the park to share. It’s our way of helping.”
Anyone who may have information about either the Circle K or Benson Donuts armed robberies is asked to call SVPD Det. John Andela at 520-452-7500.