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Police look for clues in string of robberies

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

By BEN R. WILLIAMS - Bulletin Staff Writer

A convenience store robbery in Spencer is not believed to be related to two other recent county robberies, according to Henry County Sheriff Lane Perry.

The most recent robbery occurred about 4:30 p.m. Sunday at Reed’s Grocery at 21915 A.L. Philpott Highway. A white male entered the store armed with a can of mace or pepper spray and demanded that the clerk give him the money in the cash register, Perry said.

The suspect was described as a slender built white male, 5 feet, 6 inches to 5 feet, 7 inches tall, 140 to 145 pounds, clean-cut, with dark eyes and dark hair. He was wearing a black hoodie and jeans.

The suspect’s vehicle, Perry said, is believed to be a white Chevrolet pickup with a Z71 decal on the side and possibly with paint peeling off the hood.

The other two recent county robberies, Perry said, are believed to be connected. The first occurred around 3:40 a.m. July 25 at Fas Mart at 1015 Fairystone Park Highway, Stanleytown. The suspect entered the store and brandished a handgun while demanding that the clerk give him money from the register.

In the second incident, Perry said, two males entered Village Market at 6601 Fairystone Park Highway, Bassett, at 10 p.m. Aug. 7. Again, one male brandished a handgun while demanding that the clerk give him money from the register.

In both of these incidents, the suspects were heavily clothed and fled on foot.

Perry said the principal suspect in the July 25 and Aug. 7 incidents is believed to be a black male.

Through information gleaned from store surveillance video and phone tips, Perry said the sheriff’s office is pursuing several leads in the first two robberies.

The sheriff’s office is seeking the public’s help in the Spencer robbery.

“We always rely on the media and the citizens,” Perry said. Once someone has committed a crime, he said, that person often tells others about the crime or raises suspicion, and people often contact the sheriff’s office to let officers know.

“Most people don’t want this in our society,” he said.

It is a bit unusual to see three robberies in such close proximity, he said, but “when someone comes to this desperate part of their life, they usually keep going until they’re stopped.”

People who rob convenience stores often think they’ll receive a substantial payout, Perry said, but due to modern money-handling practices, they usually get only a small amount of cash.

“It’s not worth what’s going to happen ... when they get caught, and they usually do,” he said.

Perry declined to say how much money was stolen in the three robberies.

“Usually, most (criminal activity) ties back to drugs,” Perry said. “They’re desperate, they need money and they act on it.”

Although convenience store owners and employees always have some level of fear of robberies, Perry said, these three recent incidents no doubt have increased that fear.

“Two of (the robberies) have an actual gun involved, and you’re worried what may happen if someone were to act on an impulse of anger,” Perry said, or simply fire accidentally. “It just makes the stress level go up a lot more.”

Perry encourages convenience store owners and operators to report any suspicious activity or vehicles and to make sure that security cameras are functioning properly.

“The security cameras generally prove to be invaluable for identification and prosecution,” he said.

Anyone with information regarding these cases is asked to call the Henry County Sheriff’s Office at 638-8751 or Crimestoppers at 63-CRIME (632-7463).

The Crimestoppers Program offers rewards up to $1,000 for information related to crime. The nature of the crime and the substance of the information provided determine the amount of reward paid.

Additionally, Reed’s Grocery and Village Market each is offering a reward of an additional $1,000 for information that leads to an arrest or conviction in those respective robberies.


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