A robber escaped with a handful of cash after placing what he said was a bomb on the counter at the Hamilton Mill Chick-fil-A and demanding money.
According to the store manager, the suspect, described as a white male in his mid to late twenties, appeared nervous when he entered the restaurant around 9 p.m. on July 11. The manager said the suspect looked as if he had just been in a fight due to red marks on his face. The manager was unable to determine if the marks were blood or makeup. The suspect had a bandage over his right eye and a white baseball cap pulled down low on his face. At the time of the incident, the suspect was wearing a bright green shirt and showed the manager what appeared to be a black handgun tucked into the waistband of his pants.
The manager told police the suspect placed a brown paper bag on the counter and said, “This is a bomb and it is set to explode in five minutes. Give me all the cash.”
The manager opened a register and gave the suspect an undisclosed amount of money. The suspect fled the restaurant carrying the cash in his hand.
After the suspect left, the manager grabbed the bag containing the suspected bomb and placed it outside the restaurant before calling 911. The Gwinnett County Police Department’s Explosive Ordinance Disposal team was called to investigate the package and determined the bomb to be a fake.
Another witness to the robbery said the suspect left in a white “expensive-type” vehicle. The witness attempted to obtain a plate number, but was unable to do so due to flashing red lights around the tag.
Gwinnett Police later recovered what they believe to be the suspect’s hat in the parking lot. Store employees were also able to provide a copy of the video surveillance footage of the incident.
The following evening, a robbery occurred at the Shell station at the corner of Highway 124 and Highway 211 in Braselton. Braselton Police assistant chief Lou Solis believes the two incidents may be related.
In the Braselton incident, a white male wearing face paint entered the Shell station, pointed a gun at the clerk and demanded money. The suspect was wearing a baseball hat and attempted to conceal his face by pulling his shirt up around his head.
The suspect fled with approximately $600, but dropped some of the cash as he exited the store. Police recovered $450, but an unidentified witness to the robbery stole some of the dropped cash and left the scene.
Solis said Braselton Police issued a BOLO (Be On the Lookout) for the witness, but were unable to locate him.
According to Solis, video surveillance of the Shell and Chick-fil-A robberies shows that the suspect's hair and features match.
"I'm telling you, through our witnesses and our tapes, it's similar," Solis said.
Braselton investigators are also attempting to determine the identity of a female believed to have been an accomplice to the Shell station robbery. The woman reportedly entered the Waffle House next door to the Shell station to use the restroom and was clearly shown on surveillance video. Solis said a witness placed both the girl and the robbery suspect in the same vehicle.
"Someone knows the girl," Solis said. "Eventually, someone is going to come forward and say 'I know who did it'."
The owner of the Braselton Shell station is offering a $1,000 reward leading to the arrest and conviction of the robber.
Solis said the reward has generated some interest.
"We've had a few tips, but they haven't panned out," he said.
Anyone with information about the Shell robbery is asked to contact the Braselton Police Department at 706-658-2852.