Police are looking for the person who robbed a dry cleaning business June 30, according to a Harker Heights Police Department news release.

The news release stated an unknown male entered Pittman Cleaners, located in the 700 block of Indian Trail, and produced a black semi-automatic handgun and committed a robbery of the establishment, taking an undisclosed amount of money.

The suspect left the area by unknown means and was last seen in the 700 block of Indian Trail. There were no inuries.

The suspect is described as a black male, approximately 5 feet 10 inches to 6 feet tall with a stocky build. He was last seen wearing a “boonie” hat, black shirt, unknown colored pants and a white bandana covering his face.

Police said the investigation is continuing. Anyone with information about this crime is asked to call the Harker Heights Police Department, Criminal Investigations Division at 254-953-5400.

This is the third armed robbery of a retail establishment during the past two-week period in the Killeen, Copperas Cove and Harker Heights area.

The method of the robbery, the mask disguise and the suspect’s height and weight description are similar in all three crimes.

Having successfully committed this robbery, and maybe others, this individual will not stop until he is caught and brought to justice. The temptation for easy money for a person such as this is simply too great to ignore.

Family violence

For the better part of a year, we have seen the number of assaults involving family violence soar unabated in our Central Texas community.

The cause of such an alarming increase remains to be determined; however, I believe one contributor to this phenomenon is the influx of younger families into the area.

Young family members are less emotionally mature than their older predecessors. These are younger heads of household, who have a tendency to react to stress with violence rather than dialogue. Add alcohol, readily available in Killeen and Harker Heights to the mix, and all intelligence flies out the window.

OK, disputes, which sometimes get out of control, occur. These are unacceptable, but remain understandable. To these, a police response and subsequent misdemeanor court action usually suffices to alter the abuser’s attitude and behavior. I have no quarrel with these folks.

My peeve is aimed directly at the repeat offenders — those who continue to bash spouses and children despite having been adjudicated for a prior offense.

If the courts would deal harshly with repeat offenders, perhaps the abusers would be encouraged to alter their behavior, if not for the penalty of jail time, but for the financial cost.

Apparently, they are so self-centered that they care little for the welfare of family.

It is estimated that nearly half of all felony family violence cases before the courts are reduced to misdemeanor levels while some are dropped completely and others plead guilty to a lesser charge.

I agree the courts face many challenges when dealing with family violence cases. Many victims retract allegations under pressure from the assailant or other family members and others might retract statements altogether when faced with the reality of financial hardship, should the attacker be sentenced to prison. This is the reason family violence is a crime against the state rather than against the victim of the abuse. The state has no dog in the hunt.

Battered family members must make choices regarding their future and that of their children.

Keep in mind that abused children themselves frequently become abusers as adults, believing that is natural behavior and the natural order of things.

The cycle must be broken. In the meantime, grow up, abusers! You are a pathetic example for your children and your community.

John Vander WERFF is a 30-year veteran of law enforcement, with a decade in city and county law enforcement and 20 years with state police.

John Vander Werff is a 30-year veteran of law enforcement and a Copperas Cove resident.​

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