Cops searching for suspects in Metro PCS armed robbery ring

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Gwinnett and Snellville police are investigating a series of armed robberies at local cellphone stores.

Snellville police Det. Cpl. James McDonald said Thursday that two unidentified black men held up the Metro PCS store near the intersection of Ga. Highway 124 and Henry Clower Boulevard Wednesday, at least the third such crime in the county this month.

According to police, one suspect entered the store at about 6 p.m., "claiming to have an issue with his phone" to distract employees. A few minutes later, McDonald said, the second suspect entered the store and brandished a revolver, the duo forcing two store clerks into the bathroom after getting an undisclosed amount of cash.

The suspects reportedly left in a 2001 Chevrolet Monte Carlo with a sunroof, possibly with Georgia tag BPC-8692. The M.O. fits another pair of robberies Gwinnett County police released details and surveillance photos of Thursday.

Spokesman Cpl. Jake Smith said black males robbed Metro PCS stores on Jimmy Carter Boulevard and Singleton Road in Norcross on Sept. 1 and Sept. 7, respectively, using the same model of distraction.

In the Sept. 1 robbery, one suspect pretended to be having trouble with his phone before another jumped the counter with a revolver, pilfering the register and forcing employees into a back room. Both suspects then fled to a waiting Monte Carlo driven by a third suspect.

The Sept. 7 robbery followed a similar course, though both primary suspects fled on foot.

The three robberies in Gwinnett may be only part of a larger crime ring, Smith said.

"It is likely that these suspects are responsible for more armed robberies of Metro PCS stores in other metro Atlanta jurisdictions," he said.

McDonald said investigators have developed "some" leads on suspects.

Anyone with information is asked to call Gwinnett County police robbery detectives at 770-513-5300.


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