String of armed robberies in the area -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

String of armed robberies in the area

July 15, 2005

Serial armed robbers remain on the prowl. Authorities from middle Georgia to north Florida are working together to nab the gang of bandits responsible for several robberies including several in our area.

Surveillance video of a robbery in Ocala, Florida gives law enforcers here in south Georgia a visual clue of who's behind a rash of armed robberies. "We've got several officers following up on it plus we've increased our patrols and of course all the other cities are doing the same thing," says Chief Dwayne Orrick of the Cordele Police Department.

Three suspects hit hotels and loan companies throughout Florida and Georgia including Warner Robins, Bibb County, Perry, Ocala, and St. Augustine. They also made an impact here in South Georgia. Late Wednesday afternoon in Moultrie, three men robbed a First American Cash Advance off of 319. The suspects also hit another loan business in Tifton. Workers at a First Cash Advance were forced to lie face down while a suspect duct taped their hands and feet and made away with money.

In Cordele, the robbers hit twice. Reliable Loan is taking extra precautions. "Doors locked," says manager Judy Faircloth. Last week, three men, who police describe as the same individuals robbed a worker at gunpoint and roughed her up. "We've never had anything like this happen before," says Faircloth. It happened again to another business right down the street.

Harriet Sirmons is recovering from a terrifying robbery Thursday. "He lifted up his shirt, pulled the gun out and put it between my eyes," says Sirmons. Although she'll never forget it for the rest of her life, she says the robbery was quick. "They got what they needed and cleaned us out and out the back door the went," says Sirmons. They got away before she got a chance to make an identification.

"I didn't get a good look at him because I dropped my face like this and grabbed my head and started crying when I saw the gun and begging him not to hurt me," says Sirmons. Police feel all of the robberies are linked. "It fits the same activities and the same profile as the previous ones we've had throughout Middle Georgia and North Florida, three black males," says Chief Orrick.

Two of those suspects are identified in sketches. A third is said to be the lookout. "It seems like they've done this before. They know what to do," says Chief Orrick. And with the help of video and sketches, law enforcement is doing what they have to do to end these robbery sprees between state lines.

The three suspects are also linked to attempted robbery of an Econo Lodge in Tifton. The suspects ran away after they suspected the worker called 9-1-1. The suspects were last seen driving a light colored late 80's model Chevy or Buick with dark tinted windows. If you have any information call Cordele Police at 229-273-3102 or your local law enforcement.