BRIDGETON - The robbers were wearing masks to cover their faces, but it's what deputies said one of them had on his ankle that helped lead to an arrest.
Lawmen were able to make arrests in the Dollar General robbery within hours thanks, in part, to the fact that one of the suspects was wearing his state-issued GPS tracking device on his ankle, Craven County deputies said.
Two gunmen entered the Dollar General in Bridgeton just after 2 p.m. Tuesday, one of them believed to be armed with a sawed-off shotgun and the other with a handgun.
Craven County deputies arrested Ciara Ambrose Lewis, Andrew Elder and Lee Samuel Gaskins. All are charged with the armed robbery at the store, which is located at 620 Highway 17 in Bridgeton. Elders, the man wearing the ankle GPS unit, was held under a $1 million bond.
Elder was wearing the GPS monitor as a condition of staying out of jail before his upcoming trial for assault on a female.
Witnesses said the bold, daylight robbery was so shocking that one suspect had to reiterate their intentions.
?They came in with a motor cycle mask on not saying a whole lot of nothing, just came in there pretty much grabbed the plastic bag, handed it to the girl and said this is a robbery for real. Everybody just backed away stood their ground -- pretty eerie feeling,? said Rodney Powell, who was making his usual bread delivery to the store when the two armed men walked in.
Powell said he and about four other people were shocked and frightened by what had happened
?I kind of made eye contact with him and I was like, 'What is this here?' It was kind of funny, then I looked down at his hip and they had a shotgun down there and I was like, 'Oh man, something?s wrong here,'? said Powell.
Witnesses at the store also said that the two men ran across Highway 17 before disappearing behind some bushes. Authorities said witnesses there told them they saw the men take off in a burgundy SUV.
Powell said the store manager tried to keep everyone in the store calm until the robbery was over.
?Oh man I think she handled it, handled the situation really, really well," he said. "She told everybody to calm down and don't make eye contact with him."