Months after woman's disappearance, new bill aims to protect gas - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Months after woman's disappearance, new bill aims to protect gas station employees

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(12/09/13) - Police are still trying to find a woman who disappeared last spring while working the late shift at a Muskegon County gas station.

Now, a Michigan lawmaker is trying to prevent a tragedy like this from ever happening again.

Twenty-six-year-old Jessica Heeringa was scheduled to close the gas station she worked at in Norton Shores back in April, but she vanished.

The gas station had no security cameras, leaving police with no clues.

This bill would require all gas stations and convenience stores to keep two employees working or install security cameras, if they're going to stay open between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.

"In the last five years, convenience stores, party stores and liquor stores are one of the most dangerous places to work," said Whigville Party Store Owner Carol Naimi.

Naimi has worked at Whigville in Grand Blanc Township for more than two decades. She does not like the idea of government telling business owners what to do, but in this case, she agrees with more regulation.

"I'm a woman, so when we first started here we opened late and I could feel the tension sometimes at night and different people would come in and I'd say, 'Wow it's important to have more than one person here,'" she said.

Whigville stays open until 2 a.m. They have 32 security cameras and three people on staff at all times.

Customers say they wouldn't mind seeing the bill become law.

"I think that's a good idea," said Toni Smithley of Grand Blanc Township. "I believe it will help everybody, it's safer."

This bill, called Jessica's Law, was just introduced on Monday.

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