Elderly woman robbed at convenience store - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Elderly woman robbed at convenience store

November 16, 2003

Thomasville- Saturday morning started like any other for 63-year old Vivian Melton. On her way to work she stopped at L and G Food Mart.

She pulled into the parking lot behind a man she thought was using this pay phone.

"As soon as I stepped out of my car I still had my keys in my hand and my purse in my hand and I usually drop my car keys in my purse. I didn't even have time to do that. He rushed at me and just grabbed my purse, and started dragging me and the purse around to the back of the store," she says.

Fearing for her life she let the purse go. A scared and shaken up Melton went inside the store to ask clerks to call the police, but she would be surprised by what they told her.

"I asked him to call 9-1-1 and he shook his head no and pointed toward the pay phone outside. I said may I use your phone to call 9-1-1 and he shook his head no and pointed and pointed to the pay phone," Melton remembers.

With help from two customers Melton called police from the pay phone and was able to give them a description of the suspect. Within seven minutes 50 year old Edward William Roehling was arrested and charged with robbery by snatching.

"I just felt victimized twice, because of the way I was treated by the people at the store where I had stopped to make a purchase."

Even police officers were shocked."There might have been a language barrier. We did speak to them afterwards and explain to them that they should assist and render aid to victims," says Lt. Troy Rich of Thomasville Police Department.

We decided to give the store clerks a chance to explain why they wouldn't let Melton use their phone. The woman behind the counter said she, her brother, and another man had been on duty all day Saturday, but denies anyone ever coming in asking them to call 9-1-1 or that police ever responded to an emergency on store property.

When asked whether police were there yesterday morning, the clerk said "No." When asked whether there was an emergency at L and G, she answered "No." When asked whether anyone had asked them to call 9-1-1 Saturday, the clerk answered "Uh-uh."

Melton may never know why clerks chose not to help her, but there's one thing she's definitely sure of.

"Will you ever be shopping there again?"

"No. Never."

And she says she'll tell all her friends to pass right by L and G Food Mart as well.

Police are urging everyone to be aware of their surroundings when getting in and out of their cars. They say if something or someone looks suspicious to just drive on and stop somewhere else.

Posted at 6:35 PM by elaine.armstrong@walb.com

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