04/19/07 — Officers hunt for robbery suspect

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Officers hunt for robbery suspect

By Lee Williams
Published in News on April 19, 2007 1:45 PM

Pikeville police are on the hunt for a man who robbed Howell Brothers grocery store on Main Street Wednesday night and touched off a more-than-four-hour manhunt.

A man entered Howell Brothers at 101 W. Main St. at about 8:30 p.m. He pulled out a handgun, held it to the owner's head and demanded money, officials said.

The robber grabbed an undisclosed amount of money from the cash register and bolted from the store. No injuries were reported.

Charlie Howell, 55, the victim, said the encounter was frightening, but it won't keep him away from the business that has been in the family for about 60 years. And today, it was business as usual, when he opened the store.

"I was shaken up," Howell said. "But you have to keep on going."

A swarm of law enforcement officials from the Pikeville and Fremont police departments, Wayne County Highway Patrol and Wayne County Sheriff's Office responded to the incident Wednesday and a search for the robber ensued, Pikeville police Chief Ken Barrett said.

A Fremont police officer and a sheriff's deputy each used a K-9 officer to track the scent of the suspect and tracked him along the railroad tracks to Fremont.

"They did a real excellent job of tracking him," Barrett said.

Due to increased traffic in the area, the K-9 officers lost the suspect's scent. However, police recovered some of the stolen money after the robber dropped it in his haste to get away.

The search lasted until 1 a.m. today, but the hunt for the suspect continues. The robber is described as a light-skinned black male. He stands about 6 feet to 6 feet 2 inches tall and weighs about 185 to 200 pounds.

Anyone with information about the suspect's whereabouts or information about the robbery is asked to call Goldsboro-Wayne Crime Stoppers at 735-2255 or the Pikeville Police Department at 242-5330.