Violent robberies seem to create a pattern -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Violent robberies seem to create a pattern


By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

CAMILLA, GA (WALB) –  Dramatic surveillance video shows an armed robbery in Mitchell County where two people were shot.

The suspects, one armed with an assault rifle, forced a customer to the ground at gunpoint and got away with the money.

But not before opening fire on their way out with a handgun, shooting the customer several times along with a clerk.

There's been a rash of these types of crimes. Late night robberies have happened in Moultrie, Norman Park, Coolidge, and now Camilla. GBI investigators are tracking down leads and comparing surveillance video and searching for a motive in all four cases.

Brazen thieves rush into the Exxon Station's convenience stores, guns drawn and immediately pointed in clerk's faces.

"They had on stuff around their face, masks, hoods, or something wrapped around their face," said Camilla Police Lt. Vernon Nobles.

One suspect immediately targets a customer outside the door, demanding he come back inside at gunpoint and once on the ground, he's shot.   

"Both of them had weapons, one had a hand gun, the other had what appeared to be some type of assault rifle."

The two quickly emptied the register and fire again at the clerk and customer on the way out.  Customers who frequent the store and neighboring employees are now watching over their shoulder.

"It will make you think twice about stuff, make you be more cautious," said Route 66 Employee Felissa Brown.

"I ran from New York to come down here and be safe, and so its bad down here so I'm not taking no chances with them, because they don't have no mercy on old people and stuff,"  said Customer Loren Graham.

Investigators are looking at all possible motives, including if the acts are gang related.

"It is a possibility, everything right now is a possibility because we don't know, but we're going to investigate it and see what we find out," Nobles said.

Station owner Frank Walthall wants the thieves caught and hopes the community will help.

"The store owners they have also put up a $5,000 reward leading to the arrest and conviction of the people responsible for this incident," Nobles said.

To stop what's become an all too common occurrence with the potential for deadly consequences. Neither the GBI nor Camilla Police would release the victims names in this case.

They did tell us the clerk taken to Archbold Hospital is in stable condition as well as the customer taken to Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital.

Anyone with information on these crimes is urged to call their local sheriff's office, police department, or the GBI.  You can remain anonymous.

Police say there are a lot of things convenience store clerks can do to protect themselves in this recent rash of violence.

Safety tips include:

  • Depositing big bills and cash register receipts more than once a day
  • Removing posters and signs from store windows so people can see inside
  • Better positioning store surveillance cameras
  • Clerks should always remain calm
  • Never let on that they might know the suspect 

"If you actually recognize the person from something or for some reason, you see a tattoo or something do not let the person see a reaction from you.  Don't argue with the person, be very cooperative," said Dougherty County Sheriff's Capt. Craig Dodd.

Investigators say you should always comply with the suspects demands.  They also suggest keeping the counter between you and the suspect for protection and alerting police as soon as possible.

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