Teen charged with armed robbery of Auto Zone, attempted robbery at Speedway

Published 11:17 am Monday, October 17, 2016

By Shavonne Walker


SALISBURY — Police say a teen armed with a gun in a sock and wearing dark clothing robbed Auto Zone on East Innes Street, taking away $4. He also tried to rob the Speedway convenience store, but ran when the clerk told him to leave.

Salisbury Police say Thomas Gerhard Emmesberger, 18, whose address is listed as the streets of Salisbury, was charged with one count of felony armed robbery and one count of felony attempted armed robbery. He remains in the Rowan County Detention Center under a $200,000 secured bond.

The Auto Zone robbery occurred Saturday around 8:45 p.m. when a man wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt, dark pants and a red bandana over his face walked into the store. The man walked in between the registers and pointed what appeared to be a gun inside a black sock, said Police Capt. Shelia Lingle.

The clerk thought the man was joking until the suspect reached into the register and grabbed the money. He left the store with $4, Lingle said.

He ran toward Goodyear Tire, where police believe someone was waiting for him.

While police were at Auto Zone, an employee from Advance Auto Parts, just across the street at 420 E. Innes St., said they believed the same person tried to rob the store. A man with a red bandana over his face and whose clothing matched the description in the other robbery came in asking for lug nuts for a Honda Civic.
The employee said he exhibited strange behavior. The man walked into Advance Auto Parts and out of the store, taking nothing, before the Auto Zone was robbed.

Police said around 3:25 a.m., someone tried to rob the Speedway gas station, 500 E. Innes St. The person was wearing similar clothing to the Auto Zone robbery suspect and demanded money. He had a gun in what looked like a sleeve.

“He said, ‘I want all your money,’ ” Lingle said.

The suspect walked around the counter and the clerk said “you need to leave.”

The suspect backed away, left the store and ran toward the post office. He did not get any money, police said.

Police officers who were in the area set up a perimeter and searched for the suspect, who was spotted in the area of East Fisher and South Clay streets. A K-9 was sent in the area to search, but did not locate the man.

Police said the man ran from a house in the 200 block of South Clay Street and a short foot chase ensued. He was quickly apprehended. The teen did not resist, officials said.

Police are working to determine if Emmesberger is connected to the Circle K robbery that occurred five days ago. Investigators received a similar description in that robbery. The suspect was a white male wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt, dark pants and had a red bandana covering his face.

Contact reporter Shavonne Walker at 704-797-4253.