AMERICUS, GA (WALB) - The Americus Police Department is praising the courage of responding officers who quickly arrested two armed robbery suspects.
Joseph Wilkerson and and 16-year-old Christian White are in jail and charged with armed robbery.
Police responded to the scene around midnight at the Dollar General on Adderton Street.
"One of the store employees was knocked down, held at gunpoint and drug back into the store," said Major Herman Lamar with the Americus Police Department.
The two men then emptied the register and ran out of the store.
They ran down side streets nearly a quarter mile through woods and backyards towards Georgia Avenue.
Responding officers heard a noise in the woods. They looked in and found both men laying on the ground hiding.
"It helps us tremendously to get those individuals off the street because this could've turned out to be a very violent crime since held at gunpoint, employees knocked down, drug into the store," said Major Lamar.
White's age is especially concerning for officers with the nature of the crime.
"It's troubling. We try to reach our youth in our programs to reach out to our youth," explained Major Lamar. "We have officers in the school to reach out to our youth."
The crime happened at closing time for the dollar store.
Major Lamar wants other businesses to learn a lesson from this crime.
"When you are closing, please call 911. Don't think of it as a bother.," said Major Lamar. "Call 911, and the police department will respond and standby while you close your business and leave safely."
Both employees were uninjured.
Wilkerson was arrested and charged with armed robbery, aggravated assault, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and kidnapping. White was also arrested and charged with armed robbery, kidnapping and aggravated assault.
The Americus Police Department also thanked the Sumter County deputies that assisted in the search.