Police arrest 3 suspects in string of Kinston armed robberies

POSTED: 11:05 AM Jan 15 2014   UPDATED: 12:50 PM Jan 17 2014
KINSTON, LENOIR COUNTY -

Police said they have arrested three suspects for a string of armed robberies in Kinston dating back to late last year.

According to the Kinston Department of Public Safety, 20-year-old Fidel Vasquez Lopez, 17-year-old Adrian Torres Lopez, and 20-year-old Kentrell Watkins were arrested on Thursday for allegedly robbing the following:

-Papa John's delivery employee on Nov. 26, 2013.
-Salvation Army thrift store on Dec. 20, 2013
-Salvation Army thrift store on Jan. 3, 2014
-Salvation Army employee on Jan. 14, 2014
-King's BBQ Restaurant on Jan. 14 , 2014

Fidel Lopez, of Kinston, has been charged with three counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon for the robberies of the Salvation Army store on Dec. 20, the Salvation Army employee on Jan. 14, and King's BBQ Restaurant on Jan. 14. He was being held under a $183,000 bond.

Adrian Lopez, of Kinston, has been charged with two counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon for the robberies of the Salvation Army store on Dec. 20 and the Salvation Army employee on Jan. 14. He was being held under a $120,000 bond.

Watkins, of Kinston, has been charged with three counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon for the robberies of the Papa John's employee on Nov. 26 and the Salvation Army store on Dec. 20 and Jan. 3. He was being held under a $180,000 bond.

Police said more charges and arrests are expected in this on-going investigation.

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Police said a Salvation Army store employee and a restaurant were both robbed in Kinston Tuesday night.

According to the Kinston Department of Public Safety, the first robbery happened at about 5:44 p.m. Tuesday at Little Bank at 1101 West Vernon Ave.

The victim, an employee at a Salvation Army thrift store, told officers she was dropping off the night deposit when a man with a handgun approached her outside the bank and demanded the money bag.

The victim then handed over the money bag to the robber, who fled on foot behind the bank, said investigators. Police did not mention how much money was stolen. No one was injured.

The suspect is described as a black male wearing a black hoodie, dark blue jeans and a black ski mask.

About two hours later, at 7:32 p.m. Tuesday, another armed robbery happened at King's BBQ Restaurant at 405 E. New Bern Rd., said police. Officers were told that a man armed with a handgun entered the business and demanded money. The robber then escaped in what was described as black Kia SUV.

There was no word on how much money was taken. No one was injured during the robbery, police said.

The suspect is described as being a heavy set male, possibly Hispanic, with bushy eyebrows, according to investigators. The suspect's face was partially covered with a blue bandanna.

Anyone with information on the two robberies is asked to call the Kinston Department of Public Safety at 252-939-3160 or the TIPS Line at 252-939-4020.