03/28/06 — Armed robberies might be linked

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Armed robberies might be linked

By Andrew Bell
Published in News on March 28, 2006 1:49 PM

Wayne County Sheriff's Office officials said four armed robberies this week at a variety of stores around the region, including an ABC store in Fremont, could be related.

Wayne County Sheriff Carey Winders said as many as four people could be involved in the string of robberies this past week. Authorities have received various descriptions of the robbers suggesting multiple suspects could be involved.

Witnesses described the suspects in the robberies as black men in dark clothing, with one suspect wearing a red bandanna.

Two armed suspects wearing clothing that covered up their entire bodies, including goggles and gloves, robbed the Fremont ABC store Saturday night and escaped with a substantial amount of money, Wayne County Sheriff's Office Capt. George Raecher said. Witnesses could not get a good description of the robbers and did not see which direction the pair fled.

Fremont Acting Police Chief Wayne Schwark said the case was handed over to the Sheriff's Office because of a possible link to several other similar crimes.

Later, on Sunday night, Winders said a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant in Wilson was robbed. Law enforcement officials are investigating the possibility that this crime could be connected to the Saturday heist and other robberies in Wayne County, but could not provide any additional information.

In addition to the two most recent crimes, Wayne County investigators are looking into two other robberies. In each robbery, each suspect wore dark clothing and used handguns, Winders said.

Three armed men attempted to rob the Taylor C-Mart in Eureka last Wednesday night. The robbery was foiled by two customers, one of whom fought with one of the robbers, grabbing the suspect's gun. A shot was fired, but no one was injured. The three suspects escaped.

The next night, three armed men robbed the Stoney Creek Church Grocery at 2043 N.C. 111 North and escaped with $2,524. The men walked into the store carrying guns, demanded money and fled in a small, light blue car, witnesses said.

If a person finds himself face to face with armed robbers, Winders said the first step is to stay calm.

"If somebody comes into a store with a gun, they are there for the money. People should just cooperate -- we don't want to see anybody get killed," he said.

Convenience store owners and clerks should be aware of their surroundings and call in any suspicious activities to the Sheriff's Office. Also, witnesses should gather as much detail as possible, including the suspect's clothing, stature and escape route, Winders said.

Anyone with any information on any of these robberies should call Crime Stoppers at 735-2255.

Callers may remain anonymous. There is a $1,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest of the robbers.

"I can tell you this -- we are working hard to solve this," Winders said.