Update: Weekend incidents add to disturbing spree

Feb. 25, 2013 @ 05:23 PM

Police and sheriff’s deputies are investigating two armed robbery incidents near the city limits as possibly linked, targeting vehicle operators Sunday night near the Food Lion on North Garnett Street.

The incidents and a third over the weekend early Saturday morning on Dabney Drive are not believed to be related to earlier carjackings, assaults on women and homicides that have put the city on edge.

Vance County Sheriff Peter White said both his office and the Henderson Police Department are investigating the possibility that the same assailant approached a woman in the parking lot of Food Lion, taking her phone at gunpoint, then nearby on Glenn Avenue took a man’s vehicle and shot him.

“We believe they are related,” White said.

White said the man who was shot, a 44-year-old, did not suffer a life-threatening injury.

Henderson police Lt. Alan Hedgepeth said the 23-year-old woman robbed at Food Lion was able to give a description of the assailant.

“The suspect is described as a black male, approximately 5-foot, 10 inches, 150 pounds, having a short haircut,” Hedgepeth wrote in an email to The Dispatch. “The victim indicated that while loading groceries into her car, a suspect armed with a handgun took her cell phone and attempted to take her vehicle. The suspect fled the scene on foot.”

The call bringing deputies to the 200 block of Glenn Avenue came just a couple of minutes later. Deputies said the assailant forced a man out of a gold 2000 Dodge Durango, shot him and then left him in the roadway.

“He was shot once, in the arm,” White said. “We have recovered the vehicle, and we are processing the vehicle for evidence. Part of the incident took place in the city and part in the county. The man was shot in the county.”

White said the incidents took place close to the same area near the city line.

“It is a joint investigation,” he said.

Hedgepeth said the female targeted in the city was not injured and her 2000 Honda Accord was not taken.

Hedgepeth confirmed the robbery is not believed to be related to earlier carjacking incidents also under investigation.

The incidents come on the heels of a Henderson teenager shot to death last Thursday, two people shot and killed at a motel Feb. 16, and four carjackings since Jan. 24, including two involving sexual assaults on women.

Last Thursday’s homicide was the third teenager to be shot to death in eight months in the city.

An armed robbery at the Cruizers convenience store on Dabney Drive at 2:15 a.m. Saturday is not believed to be related to Sunday’s incidents.

A police report indicated more than one assailant held up a 54-year-old man and a female Cruizers employee, using a shotgun and taking an unstated amount of cash from both victims.

Hedgepeth said that there were no injuries from the Saturday robbery incident.

The sheriff's office and police department take tips from anyone with information on crimes, as does Crime Stoppers at (252) 492-1925. Information can also be given online at hvcrimestoppers.com. Henderson police can be called at (252) 431-6063 and Vance sheriff's deputies can be called at (252) 738-2200.

Contact the writer at mfisher@hendersondispatch.com.