A reported armed hold up Thursday was the third such incident at businesses in the area of Walmart and Lowe's, and investigators were working Friday to determine if the three are related.
Shortly before 5 p.m. Thursday, law enforcement officers were called to Metro PCS at 110 Merchants Square, where witnesses reported two men armed with a pistol forced customers into a back room and demanded the clerk hand over money from the cash register and safe, according to a BCSO press release and incident report.
One of the alleged armed robbers is suspected of herding three customers into the back of the store with a black handgun while the other allegedly took more than $1,300, then escorted the clerk to the rear room.
The customers reported the alleged gunman first sat down in chairs beside them near the front door, then stood up and began walking behind the group. He then allegedly pulled out the gun, instructing the customers to move to the back of the store. A clerk said the two suspects first came into the store looking at cell phones, then left and re-entered the business.
Sgt. Jonathan Rogers said Saturday investigators recovered video surveillance of the incident, and used it and other evidence to track down the one of the alleged armed robbers and a woman who allegedly drove the two men to Metro PCS.
Corey Mandrill Thompson, 27, of 307 Iron Belt Court, Cartersville, was charged with armed robbery and four counts of false imprisonment, while Kristy Nicole Richardson, 22, of the same address, was charged with party to the crime of armed robbery.
In a Friday press release, Sheriff Clark Millsap said investigators are working to determine if the Metro PCS incident is connected to other recent robberies in the area.
Less than two weeks ago, a male clerk sustained injuries requiring medical treatment in a reported armed robbery at Rue 21, 289 Market Place Blvd. Authorities were called to the scene around 8:30 p.m. and witnesses reported one the two alleged armed robbers brandished a 5- to 6-inch-long silver revolver after entering the store 15 minutes prior.
The injured Rue 21 clerk -- who was hit in the head with a gun three or four times and kicked in the side several times -- along with another worker reported being forced into a stockroom by the duo. Also during in the incident, the suspects allegedly demanded money from the cash register and safe, and took more than $1,000.
Four customers, one of whom was accompanied by her two children, were in the store during the incident but said they were unaware of the reported robbery.
"It was daylight. When it's daylight, you've got a lot of customers and there was more than one employee inside the store. It's really a brazen robbery and then to use violence, that just escalates it, makes people's fears a little higher," Rogers said following the incident. "It makes us want to catch them even worse."
Another nearby business also was hit in June by two suspected armed robbers. Two men reportedly brandished a small silver handgun after pushing their way into Banana Boat Salvage Grocery at 65 Merchants Square Drive in Cartersville, allegedly robbing the clerk while one customer was present. The incident occurred late in the evening around closing time.
Rogers said more are arrest are possible and the three alleged armed robberies are still under investigation.