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Detectives looking for same person in string of robberies

Detectives looking for same person in string of robberies

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There have been a dozen robberies that span three counties in the East since October, according to Pitt County detectives.

Rural stores are at the center of these break-in investigations and now detectives say the latest surveillance video confirms the same person or group of people might be responsible.

Detectives say since last fall, there have been a total of 12 robberies in Pitt, Martin and Edgecombe Counties. They say all of the break-ins have something in common: The robber is cutting a hole in the wall to get inside.

The latest break-in happened early Sunday morning at the Express Food Mart on Highway 33 in Grimesland. Deputies say someone used pry tools to knock a hole in the back of the building, carved their way into the tin siding, and then crawled across the floor toward the cash register.

Newly-released surveillance video shows the robber kneeled down working to steal a safe filled with cash.

Vonda Thompson, a biscuit-maker at the store, came into work early and was the first person to discover they'd been robbed.

"To think someone has been in here is super scary," she says. "He could've been in here when we got here…I was terrified."

"Most of the stores are out in isolated areas," says Capt. Paula Dance with the Pitt County Sheriff's Office. "Not a whole lot of traffic going through at certain times of night."

Plus, Capt. Dance says in each case the robber is wearing gloves, covering his face, and cutting a hole in the back wall of businesses to gain access – all clues this could be the same person, or same group, targeting the stores.

"We're not able to see any facial features or that type of thing," she says. "So it can be very difficult in trying to figure out who this person is that we're dealing with."

No arrests have been made. But Thompson says if more than a dozen surveillance cameras and an alarm system at the shop didn't stop the criminal from striking again, not much will.

"No security is 100 percent," she says. "Where there's a will, there's a way. And if they have the will to break in, they're going to."

If you know anything about these break-ins, call Pitt County CrimeStoppers at (252) 758-7777.

--- Original Story ---

The search is on for a robber who cut through a wall to get inside a Grimesland convenience store.

Pitt County deputies say it happened around 6 o'clock Sunday morning at the Express Food Mart on Highway 33 near Mobley's Bridge Road.

Investigators say the suspect used a special tool to cut a hole in the back of the store.

9 On Your Side is working to get surveillance video from the scene. Police say it shows someone crawling in through the hole and pushing the store safe back out.

Deputies believe the robbery could be linked to others in the area but they're still investigating.

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