String of Dollar General robberies may be connected, investigators say

Sheriff’s deputies believe a string of Dollar General armed robberies in several local counties may be connected.

In the most recent case, a Lincoln County Dollar General was robbed. It happened Monday at the store on N.C. Highway 10 in Vale.

Two masked suspects armed with handguns held up the clerk and then left, deputies said.

One of the customers told Channel 9′s Dave Faherty she heard the commotion and, when she realized it was a robbery, moved to the back of the store. Another witness says one of the suspects pointed the gun at the clerk’s head.

READ MORE: Witnesses say armed teens robbed Dollar General Market in Cleveland County

Workers said the suspects were teenagers, and a customer said they were yelling “hurry, hurry” as they robbed money from the store.

Authorities are asking for help finding them. Faherty saw sheriff’s deputies out Tuesday patrolling the businesses in the area of the Lincoln County store.

“It’s very concerning because I’m a grandpa and got kids around the house,” Roger Travis said. “The sheriff’s deputies went through the woods. It looked like they had bags of evidence.”

The robbery may be connected to others, deputies said. Dollar Generals in Cleveland and Gaston counties were robbed last week. In both cases, workers say teenagers were responsible.

“They’re not raised correctly. They’re not brought up right. They’re not in school,” said neighbor Fred Nance.

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“It’s scary,” customer Sheila Canipe said. “It is scary. They need to find another way of life. You don’t know if you’re going to go to a store and come out.”

Cleveland County deputies shared images of the suspects in their case last week. Investigators believe the teens are parking their getaway car a short distance from the stores.

Witnesses described seeing Cleveland County deputies track the suspects with dogs down a pathway leading to the store Monday, but at that point, the suspects were gone. That path could have been one leading to a getaway car.

“Regardless of the age, it’s wrong,” customer Jennifer Joyner said.

Dollar General workers said seven to eight stores in the Carolinas have been robbed recently. The sheriff told Faherty they are following leads and conducting interviews.

(VIDEO: Witnesses say armed teens robbed Dollar General Market in Cleveland County)