VA, NC, SC Harris Teeter Robberies Could Be Linked

8:09 PM, Jul 19, 2012   |    comments
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STONE RIDGE, Va. (WUSA) -- It is a crime spree that appears to span three states targeting Harris Teeter grocery stores.

The grocery chain has added extra security and police patrols, and police are asking shoppers to be extra vigilant especially going out to the stores late at night.

Two masked men entered the Harris Teeter in the 42000 block of Village Center Plaza in Stone Ridge in Loudoun County at 2 a.m. Tuesday morning. It is just one of nearly a dozen Harris Teeter stores that have been robbed at gunpoint in North Carolina, South Carolina and now Virginia.

Harris Teeters are usually open 24 hours.  Law enforcement in North Carolina and South Carolina tell 9News Now that they are investigating the possibility the crimes are connected. Loudoun County says they are talking with authorities in North Carolina.

The North Carolina-based company says it has stepped up security at all stores and continues to talk to employees who came face to face with the brazen robbers.

The Loudoun County Sheriff's Department released surveillance video from inside the Village Center Plaza grocery store. The pair made their way to the cash registers after pushing an employee to the ground.They headed straight for the self check-out and helped themselves to the cash boxes.  You can see one of them holding a hand gun and run off.

Jim Heming says, "It's going too far, the boldness.  People are not respecting other things."

In surveillance video of a robbery at Charlotte Harris Teeter last month, you can see one of the suspects force the store manager to clean out the safe.

The robbers are bold, in some cases firing shots inside the store, ruffing up employees including a pregnant cashier.

Melanie Weaver is a regular shopper at the Stone Ridge store. "It seemed like we were safer than that. You wouldn't want to go out to get milk in the middle of the night. You might not be safe," she says.

Harris Teeter has upped its reward in North and South Carolina from $50,000 to $75,000. In Virginia, the reward remains at $50,000.

If you know anything about the Virginia Harris Teeter robbery, call Virginia Crimestoppers at 703-777-1919

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