Police: Armed robbery suspects led officers to them - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Police: Armed robbery suspects led officers to them

Stevie Burch (Source: Columbus Police Department) Stevie Burch (Source: Columbus Police Department)
Lawrence Smith (Source: Columbus Police Department) Lawrence Smith (Source: Columbus Police Department)
Nicoal Thomas (Source: Columbus Police Department) Nicoal Thomas (Source: Columbus Police Department)

By Lindsey Connell - bio | email

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -  Columbus Police say two armed robbery suspects had a poorly planned getaway and ended up leading officers to their hideout after the crime. The arrest is being attributed to an off duty sergeant.

Around 3 AM Wednesday, investigators say two masked men, one armed with a handgun, robbed the Circle K convenience store on Miller Road and took off running with the stolen money.

A short time later, an off duty patrol sergeant returning home from a part time job in the Windsor Park subdivision behind the gas station noticed a car speeding through the quiet neighborhood and called for backup.

Investigators say the suspects drove to the Greystone at Windsor Park Apartments which are located directly behind the Circle K that was robbed. When officers got there, they found the getaway car abandoned with a mask and gun inside. They ran the tags and learned that the car was registered to someone who lived in the complex.

When they got to the apartment, they found 25-year-old Stevie Burch and 21-year-old Lawrence Smith. Burch and Smith were arrested and charged with Armed Robbery, Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Crime and Theft by Receiving Stolen Property.

Lieutenant Lynn Joiner in the Robbery/Assault/Homicide Division says the gun they used in the armed robbery was stolen in a burglary last year on Pierce Chapel Road.

Officers also got consent to search the apartment and Joiner says they found clothes that matched the description of those used in the convenience store holdup.

According to Joiner, officers did recover some of the stolen money but at this point, police don't know if it's the entire amount that was taken at gunpoint.

Burch and Smith are scheduled to appear in court on their charges on Friday at 8 AM.

Nicoal Thomas, Burch's 23-year-old girlfriend, was also arrested and charged in connection with the armed robbery. Police say she was involved in the crime and it was her car that was used as the getaway car. She lives at the apartment complex where her boyfriend and alleged accomplice were caught. She's charged with armed robbery.

Investigators are not releasing surveillance footage of the holdup because it is considered evidence in their investigation. Management at the Circle K would not release it to WTVM. No one was injured during the robbery.

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