FORT MILL — A pregnant customer service manager, a nervous cashier and a complying store manager all fell prey to two robbers one wielding a gun who entered a Harris Teeter in Fort Mill in May, fired two shots in the crowded grocery store and got away with loads of money.
On Tuesday, the York County Sheriffs Office released store surveillance video that captured every detail of the three-minute, May 21-robbery, right down to the suspects shoes and baseball caps.
One robber wore a white hoodie with dark jeans and white and red shoes. The gunman wore a gray shirt with a black bandana over his face and a blue and white baseball cap with several symbols on its front, back and side.
Several customers were in the store on S.C. 160 when one of the robbers fired two shots from what officials suspect might be a 22-caliber pistol. Police emphasize that both men are violent.
Theyre not afraid to fire a gun, even next to a pregnant woman, said Trent Faris, sheriffs office spokesman. Theyre dangerous individuals who really need to be taken off the streets.
(The woman was) days away from giving birth and hes popping a round off, said Det. Mark Motz while watching the footage. Thats why these guys really need to be in jail.
More than two months after the robbery, deputies arent any closer to finding the suspects and are now seeking the publics help in identifying both men.
Were hoping that by seeing these guys in motion and seeing their mannerisms, someone will recognize them and say thats so and so, Faris said.
To sweeten the deal, Harris Teeter is offering a $75,000 reward for information. If people send a tip to York County Crimestoppers, they may also receive an additional $1,000 reward.
Initially, officials opted not to release the video earlier because they wanted to protect the identities of the victims, Faris said.
The video shows that:
• The men enter the store at 9:54 p.m. right as a customer walks out. They pull masks over their face while they adjust their baseball caps and what officials called lunch lady gloves.
• The first robber walks into the store and tells employees and customers to do what his partner says. The second robber, with a gun in his hand, walks into the store and fires his gun. His partner, near the cashier's station, jumps after hearing the shot fire.
• The first suspect goes to the customer service desk where the pregnant manager is helping a customer.
• The second suspect walks to the cashiers station and manhandles and pushes the worker as she tries to cancel a previous transaction to give him money out of the register.
• The first robber, wearing a white hoodie, finds the store manager and takes him to the back office behind the customer service desk. He begins to steal the money while he instructs the pregnant customer service manager to fill a bag with money from her desk. The robber with a gun joins his partner in the store's back office. Minutes later, he fires a shot within close range of the pregnant woman.
• Both men run out the door, across the parking lot and near the direction of Zaxbys on Pleasant Road. They enter an older model, silver or light blue Lincoln Town Car.
Police have been unable to locate the escape car, said Faris, describing it as clean, without rims or tinted windows. Deputies would not disclose how much money the men stole.
Hours later on May 21, a black man armed with a small handgun and wearing a dark color coat, red and white tennis shoes, black hat, and a black bandana over his face robbed a Harris Teeter in Cornelius, N.C.
Cornelius authorities said they were working with York County officials to determine if the two robberies were linked.
Eight days later, two men broke into a Harris Teeter in south Charlotte, fired two shots and pistol-whipped the stores manager. On May 30, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police released surveillance video showing that one of the robbers wore a black and white baseball cap and a black bandana. The other man, who wore a hoodie, held a gun at his side.
The Heralds news partner, WSOC TV, reported that the robbers forced an employee to the ground, fired a gun while customers were still in the store, forced a manager into a back room and stole money from the safe.
Police told WSOC they believed the same men who robbed the Harris Teeter stores in Fort Mill and Cornelius were responsible for the Charlotte robbery.
York County authorities on Tuesday said its possible the Fort Mill robbery is related to the Charlotte and Cornelius robberies but theyre sure its not connected to similar robberies at Harris Teeter stores in Greensboro, N.C. and Virginia. Deputies suspect that the men may be between the ages of 18 and 22 and possibly from the region along the Interstate-77 corridor.
Harris Teeter in Fort Mill is the only South Carolina location theyve targeted and none of the stores have been robbed twice, Faris said.
Since the robbery, Fort Mills Harris Teeter has bolstered security but the stores hours, 6 a.m. till 11 p.m., remain the same.
If anyone has any information about these robberies, call York County Crime Stoppers at (877) 409-4321 or contact Det. Mark Motz at (803) 628-3103 or firstname.lastname@example.org