Armed Robbery in Mall of Georgia During Holiday Shopping

11:06 PM, Dec 7, 2010   |    comments
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Video: Mall Robbery Connected To Others

  • The ATM was located near the movie theater on the second level of the mall.
  • Black Buick LeSabre used in getaway.
  • The ATM was located near the movie theater on the second level of the mall.
  • Armored car couriers robbed inside Mall of Georgia
    

BUFORD, GA -- Shoppers and employees had some nerve-wracking moments at one of the busiest malls in the state during one of the busiest shopping times of the year.

Police say two Dunbar Armored car drivers were robbed while they were reloading an ATM inside the Mall of Georgia Monday morning. The machine was on the second floor of the mall near the Regal Cinemas movie theater.

"The suspect grabbed the bag of money and left out the back door. As he was grabbing the money, the second armored car associate fired one round towards the suspect," said Corporal Edwin Ritter with the Gwinnett County Police Department.

"I said, either that was a gunshot or a couple of palettes fell from very high," said Nancy Mousa who works in the mall. "I was downstairs by the food court and I was talking to somebody, and I heard a big bang and right away. He and I were just startled, we didn't know what to think."

The FBI has not identified a suspect yet, but did release a photo of the getaway vehicle, a black Buick LeSabre with tinted windows and chrome wheels.

FBI Special Agent Stephen Emmett said it was fortunate the suspect decided not to fire back at the courier. "If he would have fired, that could have jeopardized numerous bystanders," he said.

Emmett said the suspect was waiting inside a photo booth for the couriers to deliver the money to the ATM.

The FBI is concerned that this could happen again. It's the fifth similar robbery that has happened in less than three months. The FBI and Gwinnett County Police believe all five could be connected. "They are choosing to rob couriers in the middle of servicing ATM's, the mannerisms during the robberies are similar and the physical descriptions of the suspects are similar," Emmett said.

The first robbery happened on September 14 at a Bank of America ATM on Howell Mill Road. Two men robbed an armored car courier while he was servicing the ATM. Both robbers brandished semi-automatic handguns. during the robbery the courier was forced to the ground and his gun was taken by the robbers, according to the FBI.

On October 7 a Dunbar armored car courier was robbed inside a Mexican-American store on South Marietta Parkway in Marietta. Two men waited inside the store for the courier to arrive, according to the FBI.

On November 11 a Dunbar armored car courier was robbed while servicing an ATM at a Bank of America on Buford Highway in Buford. The FBI said the courier was approached from behind by two suspects brandishing handguns.

And on November 29 a courier for Loomis Armored Car was robbed at gunpoint while servicing an ATM at the Wells Fargo Bank on Centerville Highway in Snellville.

Emmett said the suspects keep getting more brazen. "The mindset  of these robbers should not be underestimated," he said. "And the fact they are doing these robberies in very public places like the Mall of Georgia.

The threat of danger was not lost on Mousa. "It's very scary because it's a public place and anyone could be in there and anyone could be caught in that gunfire," she said.

Emmett said it's important that the public keep their eye out for these suspects and call the FBI if you know who they are. "It's going to be a busy shopping season around the metro Atlanta area and we can't afford for this to happen again," he said.

Anyone with any information about these robberies is urged to contact the FBI at 404-679-9000.

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