Millbrook police are searching for a gunman who terrified employees at a local Hardee's when he shot out a glass door of the restaurant and stormed inside, demanding money. They're also investigating a holdup at a local ATM. Both crimes happened within several hours of one another and less than a mile apart but officials are searching for two separate suspects, saying the crimes aren't related.
On Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 11:15 PM, Millbrook police officers responded to a report of a robbery that occurred at Max Credit Union, which is located at 3441 Highway 14. The victim, a 19-year-old man, was making a withdrawal from the ATM when he was approached by a man with a gun who demanded money. After taking the victim's money, the suspect fled into a nearby wooded area. Responding officers were unable to locate him.
The suspect was described as a black male, approximately 5'10, weighing approximately 175 pounds. He was wearing a red shirt and blue jeans.
A short time later, officers were called to the Hardee's at the intersection of Highway 14 and Deatsville Highway just after 4 a.m. on Sunday, February 2, 2014, for the report of a robbery.
The clerk told officers that a man armed with a handgun fired a shot through a glass door and entered the restaurant near the drive through area. Hardee's was not open at the time and the doors were locked as employees prepared for breakfast. At gunpoint, the man, wearing a white surgical mask to cover half of his face, told workers to give him money and he left with an undetermined amount of cash, running out the back of the business.
None of the workers were injured but officials say they were "very shaken up" by the gunfire, shattering glass and robbery.
With the help of a canine tracking team from the Alabama Department of Corrections, officers tracked the suspect's path from Hardee's along Deatsville Highway and across the Pines golf course to the 400 block of Deatsville Highway near the Rolling Hills Apartment Complex, where the trail was lost.
Millbrook Police Chief P.K. Johnson says the gunman most likely got into a waiting car and drove off.
The suspect was described as approximately 6'0 to 6'02 with a slender build. He was dressed in dark clothing, wearing what appeared to be a white surgical mask and gloves and was armed with a semi-automatic handgun.
The robberies remain under investigation. Chief Johnson said surveillance footage of the robberies is not being released.
Police do not believe the two hold-ups were committed by the same person at this point due to the difference in descriptions.
"Our investigators don't have any reason to believe they're related. We have a discrepancy in description....and several other evidentiary reasons that we have to believe that these are going to be two separate instances and individuals that committed the offenses," he told WSFA. "These cases are a priority for our department at this point in time. We'll exhaust every resource we have to get these individuals identified and apprehended."
Millbrook Mayor Al Kelley added: "Over the past couple of weeks, we've had a couple of burglaries and robberies. I think that's a trend going on across the country as much as we hate to say it. It's not centered in Millbrook by any means. We think it's folks coming in from other areas coming into our town. Our guys will get these guys. They're working hard at it and they won't turn it loose till they get something done."
Officials and residents say these violent crimes are not something the town experiences with regularity.
"This is just something different for the Millbrook and Pine Level area. It's sad that this is happening. A lot of folks move out this way from Montgomery to get away from the crime. I just hope that they catch whoever did it and that our citizens stay safe," said area resident Wendy Coleman.
Anyone with information that can help in the investigation is asked to call the Millbrook Police Department at 334- 285-5603 or the department's Secret Witness Line, which is 285-8500.