Suspects sought in store armed robbery

SNELLVILLE — A Snellville Dollar General was robbed at gunpoint for the second time in two weeks Tuesday morning, another in a series of similar crimes that officials say has plagued the area in recent weeks.

In the most recent incident, two suspects described as black men entered the Dollar General store on U.S. Highway 78 at 8:40 a.m. Tuesday, ordering the three customers and two employees inside to the ground.

The manager — later taken to the hospital with chest pains — was held at gunpoint and made to empty the safe and cash registers, Snellville police Detective Eric Washburn said.

The suspects then “took an elderly woman’s purse to shovel all the cash into” and fled in a silver or tan sedan. All told, the duo made out with about $500, Washburn said.

It was the sixth armed robbery in the city in the last two or three weeks, Washburn said, possibly all by the same culprits.

“They are suspected to be involved in other armed robberies in Snellville and southern Gwinnett County,” Washburn said.

An armored vehicle courier was robbed at gunpoint while servicing an ATM at the Wells Fargo on Centerville Highway on Monday morning, a crime investigators haven’t ruled Tuesday’s robbers out of. The same Dollar General store was also hit two weeks ago.

Several other recent armed robberies in southern Gwinnett included “similar descriptions,” Washburn said. Snellville police are working with Gwinnett County investigators to determine any connection.

“We do expect an increase during the holidays with business having more cash on hand,” Washburn said. “But this is beyond normal levels.”

Descriptions of the suspects are admittedly vague. Both are black men wearing masks or bandannas, one is described as about 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds. The other is believed to be about 5-foot-8 and 160 pounds.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, which is looking into the armored vehicle theft, described one suspect as being in his late 20s. Another similar robbery of a courier servicing a Buford ATM described one of two black male suspects as having a gold upper tooth.