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Gunman makes off with cash from Loomis van in China Grove

By Steve Huffman
shuffman@salisburypost.com
CHINA GROVE ó A gunman robbed two employees of an armored car company Friday morning just north of town.
Employees of Loomis, a company that specializes in the transport of cash, were robbed at a Wachovia ATM in the 1500 block of North Main Street near Grove Supply Co. The incident happened about 10 a.m. There were no injuries and the thief fled on foot.
According to the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office, the Loomis employees were filling the ATM with money. The Loomis driver stayed inside the van while the passenger got out.
He was immediately approached by a dark-skinned man in his early-to-mid-20s who displayed a black handgun and told him to, “Give me the money.”
The employee gave the thief a blue bag containing cash. The robber turned and ran toward the nearby railroad tracks.
The thief is described as 5-foot-8 to 5-foot 11 wearing a blue shirt and blue jeans. He had another shirt that he used to cover his face. The thief may have escaped in a small, black four-door car, possibly a Ford Focus.
The amount of money taken in the heist wasn’t released.
“He was pretty well covered,” said Capt. John Sifford of the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office who traveled to the site not long after the robbery. “We’re having a hard time getting much of a description.”
A helicopter belonging to the N.C. Highway Patrol circled the area within minutes of the robbery. Deputies told employees of surrounding businesses to stay indoors because they were bringing in a police dog to aid in the search and didn’t want the animal confused by additional scents.
The ATM is in front of Grove Motor Co. The business was closed, but officers were trying to locate the owner to see if video cameras on power poles were operating at the time of the robbery.
Deputies were questioning one Loomis employee at the site not long after the robbery. The employee’s handgun could be seen, still holstered.
Sifford said the other employee, the van’s driver, was also being questioned.
Joe Bell and his father, Larry, operate Joe’s Auto Repair in a building behind Grove Motor Co. Joe Bell said he wasn’t aware of the robbery until a deputy came to the business and asked if he or his father had seen anything.
“I told him, ‘He didn’t go that way,’ ” Bell said, motioning south where a canine sat in a neighboring yard. “That dog didn’t go off barking like he does whenever anybody gets close.”
Bell said he figured the thief had a getaway car waiting on a nearby side road. “He’s probably long gone by now,” Bell surmised.
He said the irony of the robbery is that law-enforcement officers often park in front of Grove Motor Co. to stop speeders.
“It takes a lot of guts to do something like that in the middle of the day,” Bell said of Friday’s robbery.
– – –
Anyone with information about the robbery should call Sgt. Chad Moose of the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office at 704-216-8687 or Salisbury-Rowan Crime Stoppers at 1-866-639-5245.

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