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Agencies join forces to solve string of armed robberies

A string of armed robberies involving businesses in Thomson and McDuffie County has local and state authorities working hand-in-hand in an attempt to find the person or persons responsible.

In the last three weeks, a total of five armed robberies have occurred - four within the county and one inside the city limits of Thomson. Three of those armed robberies have occurred between last Wednesday and Friday - two of which were within a 24-hour period of each other.

"All of these robberies have similarities," according to Thomson Police Chief John Hathaway, noting he could not go into any details because they might hamper the ongoing investigation.

The public's help is now being requested by the McDuffie County Sheriff's Department. A $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the series of such armed robberies is now being offered.

"It's important to try to get the public's help, now to help us solve these crimes," said Sheriff's Department Major Ronnie Williamson. "We're asking that anything they see suspicious in or around businesses to call us. We'll come and check it out. We want to get these cases solved and the person or persons behind these robberies off the streets."

Posters are appearing on doors and windows of area businesses, seeking such information. The reward flyer shows surveillance photographs of the armed robbery that occurred at the Circle K, located on Washington Road near Interstate 20, on Wednesday, Feb. 4. The crime occurred about 1:55 a.m.

No one was injured in that particular robbery or in any of the other cases. In each of the cases, a handgun was used, authorities said. The robber made off with an undisclosed amount of cash in each of the cases. In all but one of the cases, the robber also has been masked with a white-colored cloth partially covering his face. In one robbery, the bandit used a black cloth as a mask.

The current flyer being circulated in the business community asks specifically for persons to notice the clothing being worn by the robber, if they happen to encounter him. In some of the cases, the robber has worn a dark-colored coat with a hood. Each of the sleeves has two blue stripes, while the pants are said to have off-white or a tan stripe down both legs. In each of the cases, the robber has been described as a black male, standing between 5-8 and 5-10.

The flyer warns that the robber should be considered armed and dangerous.

McDuffie County Sheriff Logan Marshall has requested the assistance of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to help in the Circle K case.

"Right now, we're just assisting the sheriff's department with one of their cases," said Gary Nicholson, special agent in-charge of the local GBI office. The case has been assigned to GBI Special Agent Charles Kicklighter.

Less than 24 hours after the robbery of the Circle K, the White Oak Mart, located at the intersection of White Oak and Harrison roads was held up by a masked gunman. It occurred on Thursday, Feb. 5.

The city's armed robbery case occurred last Friday night, shortly after 10 p.m. at the Movie Galery, located off Main Street.

The other robberies have all happened in the county. Those businesses include: Domino's Pizza, located off Washington Road and Mo's Tobacco Outlet, located on the Augusta Highway, just on the outskirts of the city limits.

Persons with information about these robberies should contact the McDuffie County Sheriff's Department at 706-595-2040 ext. 236 or 911, the Thomson Police Department at 706-595-2166 or the GBI at 706-595-2575.

Web posted on Thursday, February 12, 2009

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