By BRIAN HAWKINS
An east Starkville convenience store was robbed for the second time in three weeks on Saturday, and Police Department detectives are tracking multiple leads as they work to identify a suspect.
The robbery was reported at 4:19 p.m. Saturday at the Down the Hatch Deli/BP convenience store at 405 Russell St. at Gillespie Street. The convenience store saw another robbery on Nov. 27.
In Saturday’s incident, a light-skinned black male with an athletic build — believed to be weighing between 180 and 195 pounds — entered the store and went to the candy aisle, said SPD Detective Jimmie Thomas, who is investigating the case.
The suspect was seen approaching the store from nearby Jarnigan Street to the north.
The suspect was wearing a red hooded sweatshirt with the hood pulled tight over his face, as well as a white undershirt, black pants, dark tennis shoes and brown jersey cloth gloves. The suspect was seen to have what police believe was a recent scar across the bridge of his nose, Thomas said.
While in the candy aisle, the suspect hesitated for a few moments before pulling a 12- to 18-inch pipe from under his sweatshirt and from inside the left leg of his pants, Thomas said.
Brandishing the pipe, the suspect then approached the cashier, grabbed him by the back of his collar and forced him to open the store’s safe, removing all the cash inside, Thomas said.
The suspect then tried to open the cash register, but could not get it to open, so he took a cigar and scanned the price code to force the register open and take all the cash inside, Thomas said.
The total amount of money taken is still being determined, he said.
The suspect then put all the cash from the safe and cash register into a brown paper bag and left the store on foot, heading back onto Jarnigan Street.
Within 30 seconds of receiving the call, SPD officers were at the store and began searching the surrounding area for the suspect, but did not spot anyone matching his description, Thomas said.
It is unknown whether the suspect may have had a car or other vehicle parked nearby, Thomas said.
Footage of the suspect captured on security surveillance video and will be released as soon as still photographs can be produced from the recording, Thomas said.
Anyone with information about the Down the Hatch Deli/BP robbery is encouraged to call Thomas or other detectives at the Police Department at 323-4131 or Golden Triangle Crime Stoppers at 1-800-530-7151.
All Crime Stoppers tips are confidential and could result in a reward of up to $1,000 for the caller if the tip leads to an arrest in this case or any felony crime.