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Sheriff seeks armed robber

HOBBSVILLE – An armed gunman got less than he bargained for.

According to Gates County Sheriff Ed Webb, a lone gunman allegedly entered the Sunny Food Market #4 on N.C. 32 near Hobbsville Wednesday night.

“The clerks were performing their normal duties with cleaning up and so forth,” Webb said. “An individual walked in, took one of the clerks to the register and got just a small amount of cash.”

The sheriff said the suspect was dressed completely in black with a mask and a baseball cap and was wearing gloves. Only the two clerks were in the store at the time of the robbery.

The suspect reportedly left on foot heading south on N.C. 32.

Webb said the clerks followed procedure by locking down the store when the gunman left and calling the Gates County Sheriff’s Office.

Officers arrived on the scene shortly afterward and began patrolling the county looking for any suspicious person or vehicle, but did not locate the suspect.

North Carolina Wildlife Resource Officer Owen Owens brought in his tracking dog, according to the sheriff, and the suspect’s trail was followed to a nearby church.

“It appeared a vehicle had scratched off in the rocks,” Webb said. “It may have been parked in the back near the propane tank.”

Webb said he appreciated the help of Owens, Chowan County Chief Deputy Andy Bunch and the Chowan County communications center. He indicated almost the entire Gates County Sheriff’s Office participated in the search for the suspect.

They are looking for a male described as being between 25 and 30 years old and standing six feet tall. He was armed with a small caliber chrome-plated pistol, according to the sheriff.

Anyone with information about the crime or the suspect is urged to call 357-0210. A reward is being offered in the case.