Man convicted of robbing Dollar General while wearing GPS bracelet

CRAVEN COUNTY - A man has been convicted of robbing a Craven County Dollar General store in 2012.

District Attorney Scott Thomas announced Tuesday that 30-year-old Andrew James Elder, of Bridgeton, pleaded guilty to robbery with a dangerous weapon, conspiracy to commit robbery, possession of a weapon of mass destruction, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Elder was sentenced to two consecutive sentences: 9 years and 3 months to 12 years and 2 months in prison for the robbery and conspiracy charges, and 2 years and 4 months to 3 years and 7 month months in prison for the weapons offenses.

According to investigators, Elder was on pretrial release on unrelated charges, and was being monitored by a GPS ankle bracelet. But on March 13, 2011, Elder thought that the GPS unit was turned off during the day to allow detainees to go to work.

On that day, Elder met with his co-defendants, Samuel Lee Gaskins and Ciara Roxann Ambrose-Lewis, to rob the Dollar General store in Bridgeton, investigators said.

Elder and Gaskins entered the Dollar General while wearing masks and armed with a shotgun and a pistol, according to police. The pair then robbed the store of $210.00 in front of the clerk and customers.

Authorities said the two men fled on foot, before stashing the weapons, masks and money in Ambrose-Lewis' van nearby. They then ran across Highway 17 North to Elder's waiting Jeep, investigators said.

But because Elder was wearing his GPS bracelet, a deputy was able to track him to Gaskins's house, said investigators. Police later found Elder in New Bern. He eventually confessed to the crime and implicated both Gaskins and Ambrose-Lewis, according to authorities.

Elder testified at the trial of Gaskins, who was convicted on Aug. 22, 2013. He was sentenced to 13 to 19 years in prison.

Ambrose-Lewis has yet to be tried.

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