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Was Pizza Hut armed robbery an 'inside job'?

Lee Harrell

Lee Harrell

photo

Anthony Canepa

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Gwinnett police have charged two Lawrenceville men with robbing a Pizza Hut this week in what's being called an inside job.

Lee Harrell and Anthony Canepa, both 21, are charged with armed robbery in the Monday robbery of a Pizza Hut in a Kroger shopping center at 1475 Buford Drive near Lawrenceville. Both remain at the Gwinnett County Jail without bond.

A store manager told police a masked gunman entered about 12:30 a.m. through a delivery door used by employees. The gunman demanded all the cash from a safe and registers then fled through the back door with about $2,500, according to a Gwinnett police report.

The manager told police he suspected the robbery had been an "inside job," because the perpetrator knew how to open the door and was familiar with the business's layout, the report states. Behind the store, police found a makeshift mask, made of a fleece arm sleeve with holes cut out.

Meanwhile, Gwinnett police stopped a suspicious Chevy Blazer nearby and detained the two occupants, Harrell and Canepa. Inside it, police reportedly found a blue fleece missing a sleeve that matched the mask, a trash bag containing cash and coins and red envelopes the restaurant manager had reported missing.

Harrell is listed in jail records as a Pizza Hut employee and a student at Georgia Gwinnett College. An employee at the restaurant said Tuesday that Harrell works there but declined further comment.

Both suspects are scheduled to appear before a judge at probable cause hearings Feb. 29.