APD: Robbery was ‘spur of moment’

Published 12:04 am Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Police are now saying Friday night’s kidnapping and armed robbery of a Westgate Plaza retail clerk was a random, “spur of the moment decision” by the three men involved.

One is in custody after being shot by a property owner and detained by hunters in the Pigeon Creek area Saturday morning, and police are now looking in the Montgomery-Prattville area for the other two suspects, Sgt. Paul Dean with the Andalusia Police Department said Tuesday.

“From what we can put together, they traveled to Andalusia to drop off someone who lives in the area, went to get something to eat at McDonald’s and then, while here, decided to create mischief,” Dean said. “We do have the names of the others that were possibly involved in the incident, but we’re not releasing the names.

“Until we can positively confirm their involvement, we are maintaining their identity in the strictest confidences,” he said.

Dean did confirm the two are believed to be from the Montgomery or Prattville area.

“This was a totally random situation,” Dean said. “Those girls are very lucky, and thus far, there’s nothing to indicate that the suspects targeted a specific business or person.

“The whole incident – it was a spur of the moment decision for them it appears,” he said.

According to previous published reports, the APD received a call at 9:15 p.m. Friday, after two employees exited an unnamed business with the night deposit. One employee, who did not have the deposit, was ordered at gunpoint to hand over the money, as well as her car keys, to two of the suspects. She was forced, at gunpoint, into the car, but later left behind the shopping center while the group made their getaway.

The employee’s car was later found abandoned after a short pursuit in Red Level.

Its occupants fled on foot; however, one – Jerome Edwards, 28, of Montgomery – was later apprehended by a hunter in Pigeon Creek.

It was Edwards’ second encounter with local residents. During the first, a property owner fired a shotgun in Edwards’ general direction after the alleged robber failed to stop and wait for police. Edwards was struck several times with what appeared to be birdshot; however, after receiving medical treatment, was booked into the county jail and under a $1.5 million bond.

During the chase, police also came into contact with a green 1999 Ford Expedition, and it is believed the suspects used the vehicle to eventually flee the area.