Armed Robberies May Be Linked

By: Philip Stewart
By: Philip Stewart

January 22, 2006

An armed robbery Saturday night along Route 250 may have been committed by the same group of teenagers that robbed a store on Four Seasons Drive a week earlier, according to police.

It is the second armed robbery in exactly one week has Albemarle county and Charlottesville police looking for answers.

Charlottesville police say a local auto supply store was the target of the armed robbery Saturday night and they are searching for suspects.

"It's concerning when it seems to become apparent that these people are working and targeting these places right at closing time," said John Pendleton, the manager at The Tractor Supply Company.

He works right across the street from our area's latest robbery. Saturday night four individuals entered the Auto Zone store on Route 250 right before closing time and demanded cash.

"One of the black males had...what was described to us as a sawed-off shotgun and pointed it at the clerks. One of the females demanded money," explained Lt. Gary Pleasants of the Charlottesville Police. "One of the clerks took the money from the cash register. The female put it into a blue pillowcase."

The suspects are being described as teenagers, two black males and two black females. It's something police say is rare.

"Property crimes and things like robbery, that is a little strange for females," said Pleasants.

Police also say the four worked as a team.

"The person with the shot gun and the other male and female who didn't do anything else all three stood by the door kind of as lookouts and watching the employees, too."

The robbers fled by foot. Police say the location of the store may have worked to their advantage.

"It's also right at the edge of the city, there's an easy get away route there across the bridge, and go in several different directions once they enter the county."

Police are now turning their attention to a similar robbery last weekend on Four Seasons Drive in Albemarle County.

"Same description: two black males and two black females with a shotgun, and that robbery occurred just before they closed also."

Neighboring businesses are taking precautions.

"I've informed my boss and we're taking precautions as to pairing up when we close and our cash handling procedures at closing time," said Pendleton.

Police now believe that the two crimes are related. Both involved four robbers, all with similar descriptions. Both occurred around closing time. Both involved a similar weapon.

City police say will be working with county police on the investigation of these two incidents. They are asking anyone with information to call Crimestoppers at 434-977-4000.

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