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Gunman robs Beltline Road Dollar General
Police probe possible connection to robberies in Birmingham area

By Seth Burkett 340-2355

Police on Monday were trying to determine whether the robbery of a local Dollar General Store was connected to robberies of stores in the Birmingham area.

The masked robber apparently hid inside the store at 1000 Beltline Road S.W. and struck after employees locked the doors at 10 p.m. on Friday.

Having just finished sweeping, employee Sherry Davis entered the storage area at the rear of the store to put away the broom and dust pan when a masked man with a revolver approached, police said.

The gunman placed a finger to his lips, motioning for her to be quiet, then directed her to go into the office area, where employee April Rumply was counting the day's take, police said.

The robber instructed the employees to put the cash into a red pillowcase. He told the women he would shoot only if he did not get what he wanted, if they tried to fight him or if the police arrived before he could leave, police said.

With the pillowcase inside a large Dollar General bag, he exited through a rear door.

The robber was described as a black male, about 5 feet 8 and 160 pounds. He wore an off-white work shirt, blue jeans, white tennis shoes, latex gloves, a black watch cap, sunglasses and a red bandanna over his face.

The store did not have security video of the incident because it has no surveillance system.

Police in the Birmingham area are looking into a series of robberies to Dollar General and Family Dollar stores that began in October.

The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the U.S. Marshals Service are involved in that investigation. A $4,500 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest.

One employee was shot when a gunman wearing a ski mask robbed a Dollar General in Pelham on Feb. 22. According to news reports, police said the robber approached a clerk as the store was closing and forced her at gunpoint to where a manager was counting money.

Decatur police Sgt. Rick Archer said police have not yet determined whether Friday's robbery is connected.

"We are looking into similarities," he said. "I can't say if it's the same guy or not. We have not ruled out that possibility."

"In this particular robbery, we believe this person entered the store just before closing and appeared to be like any other customer. We think he waited until the store was closed," Archer said.

"Based on that, we would encourage all businesses to go through their store and check their store prior to closing just to make sure there's nobody remaining in the store. I'd like to remind stores to make sure that their surveillance equipment is in good, working order."

Anyone with information about Friday night's robbery should call detective Jeremy Hayes at 341-4638.

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