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Police: Man Hides in Grocery Store, Steals Cash

By Cyndi Lundeberg
By Clundeberg@wbbjtv.com

BELLS, Tenn. - Business is back to normal at Food Rite in Bells, after an armed robbery involving two of the stores workers.

Sergeant Allan Gilliland of the Crockett County Sheriff's Department said the gunman ambushed two women as they were closing up the store, Wednesday night.

"There were two cashiers left in the building, counting down the registers. As they were doing so, he came from the backroom with a mask pointed a gun at them and demanded the money," explained St. Gilliland.

Bells police and Crockett County deputies estimate the robber is about 5 feet 3 inches tall with a medium build. They said he walked into the store about 45 minutes before the store closed, hid and waited.

Bells Police Chief Roger Jenkins said he then ambushed the two workers. "He had her tape her coworker and then after that was done he had her put money in the bag then tied her up and left," he said.

The gunman was wearing jeans, a green sweatshirt, a blue hat and had a red backpack. Inside the backpack police said there was a gun and duct tape.

Bells police said any robbery in this area is unusual let alone one they believe to be premeditated. They said businesses as well as individuals should be on high alert because the robber may strike again.

Bells resident Kalie Foust is a Food Rite regular, she said the robbery makes her feel unsafe. "I know myself I won’t be coming late at night. Sometimes I come right before they close and I don't think I'll be doing that anymore," she said.

Law enforcement wouldn't say exactly how much the gunman got away with only that it was a very large amount. Chief Jenkins says he believes this is not the robber’s first crime.

Foust says she now worries about her and her family’s safety even at her home. "(It) makes me feel a little nervous, to be honest. I live right up the road and this is a very safe town. We don't have anything like that normally happen. I'm very concerned," she said.

If you have any information that can lead to an arrest call Crockett County Crime Stoppers at 731.696.5150.