Armed robber sought

Published 2:50pm Monday, March 31, 2014

POWELLSVILLE – The Red Apple market located at the intersection of US-13 and NC-42 was robbed at gunpoint here Monday afternoon.

According to witnesses, a black male subject of medium build, approximately 6’1” to 6’ 2” tall wearing what appeared to be a mask over his portions of his face and also wearing a dark hoodie and camouflage pants, entered the market shortly after 1 p.m. brandishing a long-barreled handgun.

Bertie Sheriff’s Detective Sgt. Ed Pittman (right) interviews a store clerk (left) that was victimized in Monday afternoon’s armed robbery at the Red Apple in Powellsville. Staff Photo by Gene Motley
Bertie Sheriff’s Detective Sgt. Ed Pittman (right) interviews a store clerk (left) that was victimized in Monday afternoon’s armed robbery at the Red Apple in Powellsville. Staff Photo by Gene Motley

The gunman reportedly demanded money from the cashier and when they would not surrender it, the gunman ripped the cash register completely away from the counter, tearing out wires.

The witnesses further stated that as the cashier reached for a telephone, reportedly to call the Bertie County Sheriff’s Office, a shot was discharged into the wall just above the cashier’s head.

The gunman then ran on foot across NC 42 into an open field dropping cash and coins from the cash register as he fled. The gunman then disappeared behind an adjacent trailer park.  Witnesses do not know if he entered one of the residences or a vehicle.

A call came into the Sheriff’s Office shortly around 1:15 p.m. and deputies were immediately dispatched to the scene.

The area was cordoned off with yellow law enforcement crime tape and deputies began their investigation by first interviewing the cashier.  The investigating officers were later able to locate a witness to the robbery and take a statement.

Sheriff John Holley, who later arrived on the scene to help with the investigation would not reveal much other than to say that the incident was captured on the market’s surveillance cameras and that deputies were looking at the tapes.

“We expect this investigation to go on throughout the rest of the day today and probably into tomorrow,” Sheriff Holley said.

The Sheriff said investigators were also interviewing a ‘person of interest’ back in Windsor, but would not say if that person was a suspect in the robbery.

Monday’s heist marked the second time in less than 48 hours that the Powellsville Red Apple market had been victimized.

Sunday morning when the cashier arrived to open the market for business, the front window of the store had been smashed in and it appeared someone had entered the store through the vandalized window; and that the breaking-and-entering occurred sometime after the market closed just before 10 p.m. on Saturday.

The Sheriff’s Office was called to the scene but authorities would not reveal what was taken during the break-in.

Later Sunday morning, department personnel made an arrest of a suspect in connection with the break-in.

Arrested and taken to the Bertie-Martin Regional Jail was 18-year-old Tony Watford of 143 Sally Freeman Road in Powellsville.  Authorities would not say much about the arrest other than that Watford was taken into custody at his residence.

An investigation into the Sunday incident is also still ongoing.

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