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Suspect in local robbery, chase has criminal history

A man in custody for last Wednesday's armed robbery of the Fast Fare in Thomson and the ensuing high-speed chase is no stranger to McDuffie County law enforcement officials.

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McDuffie County Sheriff's Deputy Mike Coke talks with a Georgia State Patrol trooper during last week's manhunt. Deputy Coke's car (right) was struck at the start of the chase.

Records at the McDuffie County Clerk of Court's office show that Alvin Russell Agner, 29, was sentenced to 10 years in jail for an attempted armed robbery that took place in January 1996 at The Clothes Encounter. Records also show that he was convicted of burglary and escape in 1995.

Mr. Agner and his 16-year-old accomplice, face a host of charges including armed robbery and aggravated assault on a police officer after allegedly holding up the Fast Fare, striking a patrol car and nearly striking sheriff's deputy Mike Coke during their attempt to elude officers, said McDuffie County Sheriff Logan Marshall.

According to Sheriff Marshall, the suspects were spotted getting gas at the Citgo Station on U.S. Highway 278 by Thomson Police Department Investigator Scott Whittle at 10:20 a.m., shortly after the robbery occurred.

Officers told the suspects to halt, and that they were under arrest. The suspects then drove off toward Warren County in a red Chevrolet Monte Carlo, striking the patrol car in the process.

Thomson Police Department Assistant Chief Jerry Stanphill fired two shots at the vehicle in an attempt to shoot the tires out after Deputy Coke was nearly run over. One of his shots took out the back windshield of the suspects' vehicle.

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Deputy Mike Coke escorts Alvin Russell Agner to a waiting police car.

According to a McDuffie County Sheriff's Department report, the suspects were paced at 120 mph through a construction zone on Hwy. 278. Warren County deputies put down "stop sticks" causing the vehicle to wreck. The suspects then fled into a section of woods near Thunderbolt Electric Motors.

Officers searched the woods and called for canine units to assist. Officers in the Georgia State Patrol helicopter out of Athens spotted the suspects which led to their capture about 40 minutes after fleeing on foot.

Sheriff Marshall said an undisclosed amount of cash and a handgun were recovered in the vehicle. In addition to the two current charges, others are still pending, he said.

Toombs Circuit Assistant District Attorney Woody Davis said on Friday that the armed robbery count led to the decision to charge the 16-year-old as an adult under "seven deadly sins." Officials have yet to release the youth's name.

WTHO's Lisa Kitchens contributed to the article.



Web posted on Wednesday, July 20, 2005











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