Corapeake store robbed

Published 11:32 am Monday, September 13, 2010

CORAPEAKE – A pair of armed robberies over a four-day period have Gates County business owners and citizens on edge.

Over a period of 96 hours, Family Foods Convenience Store locations in Gates and Corapeake were robbed at gunpoint.

The latest occurred Saturday evening in Corapeake where two masked gunmen entered the store brandishing weapons.

According to Gates County Sheriff Ed Webb, two black males, each dressed in military-style camouflage apparel, came in the front door of the store located at 1479 NC 32 north at around 7:30 p.m. Both men had their faces concealed – one wearing a bandana while the other wore a ski mask. Both men were armed (a long rifle and a handgun).

Webb reported that two employees and one customer, accompanied by a small child, were in the store at the time of the robbery.

“The suspects came in and demanded that everyone needed to drop to the floor,” Webb said.

At that point, Sheriff Webb said one of the suspects went to the checkout counter and ordered the clerk to open the cash register from where an undisclosed amount of money was taken.

“The suspects attempted to have the employees open the store office, apparently in an effort to gain access to the store’s safe, but neither had a key,” Webb reported. “After that, the suspects left the store. They were in and out in less than two minutes.”

The suspects were last seen exiting the store, heading on foot towards the north side of the building.

“That’s the same direction from which they came to enter the store,” Webb said. “There was no information concerning a get-away vehicle. No one saw anything after the two men left the store.”

Roadblocks were set up on both sides of the state line following the robbery. Webb said his office was assisted by the North Carolina Highway Patrol and the Suffolk (Va.) Police Department.

Webb encouraged anyone with information to call the Gates County Sheriff’s Office (357-0210).

“We’re making some headway in both cases,” Webb said, “but we still need any and all information we can get on both these cases. Call us. We do not need your name, just your information.”

On Tuesday of last week (Sept. 7), two masked men robbed the Family Foods location in Gates. Both were armed, one with a handgun and the other with a long gun (shotgun or rifle). Those suspects were dressed in all dark clothing. One wore a bandana across his face while the other used a ski mask to hide his identity.

In that robbery, the suspects came through the store’s back door, propped open by an employee who was placing cardboard boxes in a recycle bin.

The suspects took cash from three registers and the store safe. They also stole 29 cartons of Newport cigarettes and a pocketbook belonging to one of the store’s employees.

“We’re not saying at this point that the two robberies are connected, but they do have some similarities,” Webb said.

A reward is offered in both cases for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspects.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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