Armed robber targets gas station
Published 5:23 pm Sunday, April 22, 2001
By By ROBERT BLANKENSHIP
Advance Managing Editor
An armed robbery at an Atmore convenience store was linked to another in Bay Minette which has led to an arrest of one Atmore man with other arrests likely.
Theautry Cooper, a 20 year-old male of Freemanville Drive, was arrested and charged with robbery, first degree by the Bay Minette Police Department. Atmore Police Chief Danny McKinley said the same charges are currently pending with his department and that he should be formally charged early next week. The APD has already filed charges against Cooper for public intoxication.
McKinley said at approximately 2:30 a.m. Wednesday, April 18, a male entered Minute Stop No. Two on Highway 31 West, pulled a firearm and demanded money from the cashier who was working there. He fled on foot.
Prior to the robbery, employees noticed a group of males who appeared to be repairing a vehicle.
According to McKinley, employees at the store said several of the men who were with the broken-down car had come in and out to borrow tools to work on the car. When police arrived on the scene the car remained in the parking lot, but all the men had left. The employees told police they recognized the suspect as one of the men in that group.
Police set a perimeter and began searching for the suspects. After searching the area, police found two individuals, one of whom said he was the driver of the automobile, but denied knowledge of the robbery.
McKinley said video footage led the investigators to believe that all the men knew about the robbery.
Upon searching the abandoned vehicle, police found a large quantity of beer. McKinley said the amount was so large that the investigators checked with a Bay Minette convenience store. The store reported that the beer had been stolen earlier that day.
The Bay Minette store reported the suspects there had been wearing bandannas – the same type worn by a suspect at the Minute Stop in Atmore, McKinley said.
The APD arrested Cooper and charged him with public intoxication. McKinley said interviews with suspects and witnesses has led to the recovery of the firearm allegedly used in the Atmore robbery.
The second suspect has been released. But, McKinley said warrants have been issued for other suspects who where allegedly involved in the robbery.
Cooper was transported to Bay Minette to face robbery charges there.
McKinley said the officers working the robbery did a great job.
The APD was aided by a tracking team from the Fountain Correctional Facility and members of the Poarch Tribal Police.