By BRIAN HAWKINS
A man who walked into a west Starkville McDonald’s restaurant early Wednesday morning was not hungry for a biscuit or a Big Mac.
What he did do was man pull a handgun, push the female manager to the floor and rob the fast food eatery of an undetermined amount of money before fleeing on foot — all before the restaurant opened for business, Starkville Police Department detectives say.
The holdup occurred just after 4 a.m. Wednesday at the McDonald’s located at the Spirit convenience store on Highway 12 West directly across from the main entrance into the Starkville Crossing Shopping Center. Police were called at 4:09 a.m., with officers arriving on the scene in less than a minute, said SPD Detective Scotty Carrithers, who is investigating the case.
The suspect had already fled the immediate area by the time officers arrived, said Carrithers.
The suspect — a light-skinned male whose ethnicity has not been verified — entered the restaurant from its east door wearing what SPD detectives believe was some sort of hooded jacket and a bandanna on his face. The suspect was described as being over 6 feet tall with an athletic to muscular build, Carrithers said.
Pulling a handgun of unspecified style and caliber, the man confronted the manager, who was working with a male employee to open the McDonald’s for business for the day, Carrithers said. After forcing the manager to the floor and taking the cash, the suspect fled on foot and was seen heading north toward Highway 12.
Police have not yet determined whether he might have had a car parked nearby to escape the area, said Lt. Mark Ballard.
The McDonald’s manager and employee, “while visibly shaken and upset,” were not injured in the incident, Ballard said.
Some physical evidence was recovered at the restaurant, but neither Carrithers nor Ballard would comment on what was recovered,
including whether officers had recovered security video footage of the incident or any fingerprints the suspect may have left behind.
“Obviously, this case is still actively under investigation,” Ballard said.
Wednesday’s holdup was the third armed robbery to occur within the city and county within the last month.
SPD detectives continue to investigate the Dec. 18 holdup of the Down the Hatch Deli/BP convenience store on Russell Street at Gillespie Street, while Oktibbeha County sheriff’s deputies are investigating the Dec. 23 robbery at the Sprint Mart/Shell convenience store at the junction of Blackjack Road and Oktoc Road just south of the Mississippi State University campus.
Wednesday’s robbery should be a reminder to area restaurant managers to take safety precautions, Ballard said.
“All restaurant managers should be aware of their surroundings, particularly at night,” said Ballard. “The Police Department does offer a bank escort service for restaurant managers after they close. All they have to do is call the department’s main number to request the escort.”
As the investigation into Wednesday’s McDonald’s robbery continues, SPD detectives are asking anyone who may have seen anyone suspicious or who has information about the incident to contact the 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 results in an arrest in this case or any felony crime.