Armed robbery forces victim to drive to ATM

By Evrod Cassimy – bio | email

HANOVER, VA (WWBT) – An armed robber abducts a man and then forces him to withdraw money from an ATM. This all happened in the 3600 block of Mechanicsville Turnpike -- and now investigators from both Henrico and Hanover are involved.

It all happened in the shopping center parking lot around noon on Friday. Police are looking for a man who forced his way into the victim's car and made him drive down Mechanicsville Turnpike looking for money.

Monday afternoon, the shopping plaza parking lot where it happened is quiet as usual. But this past Friday a man reported being robbed at gunpoint. Someone forced their way into the man's car. Celie Thomas works at the Tropical Smoothie Cafe. She was here when police were investigating.

"I was here all day," said Thomas. "My co-workers and I were here all day and we never saw anything unusual happening in the parking lot."

Thomas has worked in the shopping plaza for 6 years and has never seen any criminal activity. News of the incident shocked her and her employees as they watched police interview the victim from their shop.

When asked if the victim seem scared at all, Thomas said, "Not from where I stood. But then again he was just reporting so maybe he was feeling safe because they were here talking to him."

"I would be very scared," said witness, Aimee Redford. "I have no idea what I would do. I would probably break down."

The suspect made the driver stop at a 7/11 in Henrico County. He forced him to go inside and withdraw cash from the ATM.

"It's a little unnerving but like I said, I've been working here for almost 5 years and I've never felt unsafe here and we have cops that come through here on a regular basis through the shopping center," said Redford.

"I would have been a basket case," said Thomas.

Thomas has a hard time believing that this crime actually happened here because she herself didn't see anything suspicious here Friday. She still hopes though that police are able to get to the bottom of things.

"If it did happen I hope they catch whoever did it," said Thomas. "If it didn't happen I think the young man might need some help."

The suspect made the victim drive him to the intersection of Route 360 and I-64 where he got out. He was last seen in that area wearing a white shirt white hat, white shoes and brown pants.

Police believe they have surveillance photos of the suspect and expect to release those in the next few days. If you have any information about this incident you can contact the Hanover County Sheriff's Office on Henrico Police.

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