Thief punches woman in robbery

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 19, 2011

By Sarah Campbell
Police are looking for a man who punched a Salisbury woman in the face during a robbery at a restaurant drive-through Tuesday afternoon.
Lelonna Richardson, 33, said she pulled up to place her order at the Wendy’s on East Innes Street about 3 p.m. when a black man wearing a black jacket and black scarf opened the driver’s-side door to her Chrysler Pacifica.
“He told me to get out of the car or he was going to shoot me,” she said. “I just froze, so he punched me straight in the face, leaned over and grabbed my purse and took off running.”
Richardson said the man ran toward Fisher Street, first jumping over the wooden fence that separates Wendy’s from several houses.
“It happened so quickly,” she said. “Normally, I always have my doors locked.”
Richardson’s purse contained two debit cards, a checkbook and $2 cash. The thief reached across Richardson to snatch the purse.
“There were some Bible verse cards in there,” she said. “He needs those.”
Richardson said she believes the suspect was armed. She did not see a firearm but saw a shape under the man’s coat that looked like a gun, she said.
Richardson sustained minor injuries in the incident.
“There was blood in my mouth at first, and my tooth feels numb,” she said.
Salisbury Police Sgt. J.M. Robertson said he dusted the vehicle’s door handle for fingerprints.
“I took one off of her car,” he said. “It may be hers or it may be the suspect’s.”
Robertson said the restaurant at 515 E. Innes St. does not have surveillance cameras outside.
“I’m really surprised they don’t have cameras at the drive-through,” Richardson said.
Wendy’s manager Rodney Curlee said none of the employees saw the incident.
“It was so odd. It happened in broad daylight,” he said. “These times are tough and people are scary.”
Curlee said this is the first time an incident like this has occurred at the restaurant.
Salisbury Police Officer C.J. Brooks cautioned residents to be aware of their surroundings.
“If they see somebody who is suspicious-looking they should call us,” he said. “They should have their cell phone beside them so they can call 911 at any time.”
Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.