Weekend robbery suspect dangerous

Published 9:22pm Monday, November 26, 2012

A second convenience store robbery during the weekend has led to law officials warning that the armed suspect should be considered dangerous.
The armed robberies took place on River Road, east of Washington, over the weekend — the Guadalupana Tienda Mexicana on Saturday night, followed by the River Road Convenience store Sunday night. It was during the second robbery that the situation escalated to violence, according to Maj. Kenneth Watson, Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office spokesman.
At 6:50 p.m. Sunday, sheriff’s office deputies responded to the family-owned convenience store on River Road, located in the former retail seafood market, Fish-N-Stuff.
Watson said four family members witnessed the robbery: two women, along with an adult male and a child. The suspect struck both women with his firearm after one attempted to grab at a cloth over the assailant’s face, said Watson.  She was treated at Vidant Beaufort Hospital for a laceration to the head.
“It does show we’re dealing with a violent individual who has little regard for the capabilities of the victims,” Watson said. “These were unarmed females … He still chose to strike them with a firearm.”
“Any time you strike someone with a blunt object to the head, there is the potential for serious injury,” he added.
The suspect is described as a 25-year-old black man, 5 feet, 6 to 8 inches tall, with a medium build. At the time of the robbery, he was wearing a dark-colored hooded sweatshirt or jacket and dark-colored pants.
Sheriff’s office investigators are looking into whether the Saturday and Sunday night crimes are related.
“There are similarities and differences,” Watson said, explaining that investigators are weighing descriptions of clothing, modus operandi and statements made by the suspects, among other points, before they decide if they’re looking at the same man for both robberies.
“There’s still a possibility that we have separate suspects involved. We’re just not at a point right now we’re confident (in saying) either way,” Watson said.
According to Watson, few armed robberies take place over the course of a year in Beaufort County, but they do happen sporadically, mainly in the Washington area.
“Historically, we’ve seen an increase during the holidays,” Watson said.
Investigators are reviewing video surveillance from both stores and plan to release still photos of the suspect shortly. Until the suspect is arrested, however, law officials are cautioning the public.
“We encourage anyone else who encounters (an armed robbery) to cooperate with the subject in every way possible,” Watson said.

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