04/17/08 — On the loose

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On the loose

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on April 17, 2008 2:18 PM

News-Argus Video Report

Early this morning, a shotgun-wielding robber put doubt on speculation that two other men in custody were responsible for a recent string of armed robberies.

On Wednesday morning, Goldsboro and Wayne County lawmen were wondering if two men arrested for the robbery of a Spence Avenue Bojangles' were also responsible for eight other armed robberies in recent weeks.

But by Wednesday evening -- after Goldsboro police and the Sheriff's Office had compared incident reports -- the arrested men could be linked to only one robbery.

Then, at about 4:30 this morning, a man in a gray jacket, dark blue scarf and blue jeans robbed a Laura Lane resident and clerk of The Pantry at 2606 N. William Street.

The crime had resemblances to at least seven other robberies, where a shotgun-toting man wearing a camouflage jacket demanded cash and Newport cigarettes.

The Pantry was robbed of $100 cash and nine boxes of Newport cigarettes worth $350, police said.

Police described the suspect as a slim black man, about 5-feet-7 inches tall and weighing 150 to 160 pounds,

Authorities involved said they would keep investigating all possible suspects in 10 recent robberies with weapons.

Police also charged the suspects accused of robbing the Spence Avenue Bojangles' store, authorities said.

Arrested Wednesday morning in a traffic stop on Royall Avenue were Christopher Monte Artis, 29, Courtyard Apartments and Eric Leshun Smith, 32, Bolling Drive.

Police accused Artis of entering Bojangles' on Spence Avenue with a handgun and demanding money from the safe.

The police incident report said a clerk, a Fremont resident, told Artis he had no access to the safe. According to the report, that caused Artis to flee the restaurant.

A Goldsboro police sergeant headed to the scene saw Smith and Artis in a green Mazda SUV.

It looked like one of the men was trying to take off a jacket, according to the report, and the sergeant initiated the traffic stop.

The Sheriff's Office also reported that a Kangaroo location on U.S. 70 West had been victimized Wednesday morning.

Sheriff's Office Capt. Tom Effler said his investigators could not prove Smith nor Artis were connected to that robbery.

Goldsboro police Sgt. Chad Calloway noted some of the discrepancies between Wednesday's crimes and others.

"(They used) a handgun, so it wasn't a sawed-off shotgun, or a long gun at all," Calloway said. "His face wasn't totally covered, he didn't have a bandanna over the bridge of his nose."

Goldsboro police however will also not rule out Artis and Smith in other robberies reported in the city and will continue to investigate, Calloway said.