Suspect sought in brazen Larksville store robbery
LARKSVILLE, Dec 05, 2012 (The Citizens' Voice - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Police are searching for a Scranton man accused in a brazen Sunday night robbery at a Larksville convenience store.
Investigators say Nicholas Kyle Reed, 25, pulled a handgun on the clerk at the Nu-Mart on State Street and then handcuffed the woman behind her back as he looted the store.
Reed spent nearly five minutes in the store stealing cash and cigarettes, then confronted an unsuspecting customer at gunpoint as he approached the counter to buy milk, police said.
"We don't see this type of thing often. It's a rare occurrence," said Larksville police Chief John Edwards. "Some of the people get so desperate and brazen this is what they are willing to do."
Reed, who remained at large Tuesday night, will face charges of robbery, aggravated assault, terroristic threats, unlawful restraint, theft, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, retail theft and receiving stolen property, police said.
Police believe Reed is in the Scranton area. Arrest papers say Reed's last known address is 420 Adams Ave., Apt. 810, in Scranton.
Mubasher Afzal, owner of the store, said he was watching surveillance cameras at his home when he noticed his clerk being robbed around 8:30 p.m. on Sunday.
"I called 911 when I saw that. I said there's a robbery going on at my store," said Afzal, who lives a block away and rushed to the store.
Afzal showed a reporter several minutes of dramatic surveillance footage on Tuesday. The masked robber enters around 8:27 p.m. and walks to the back of the store, where the clerk was changing a trash bag. The bandit leads the clerk to the front of the store and behind the counter, where he places handcuffs on her. He stuffs cash and cigarettes in a bag as a customer approaches and places a gallon of milk on the counter, apparently unaware a robbery is taking place. The masked man then walks around the counter and confronts the customer, demanding he get down on the ground. The customer, an older male with white hair, appears to refuse, pointing to his knees, and then retreats to the back of the store. The robber then returns behind the counter to steal cartons of cigarettes, the clerk's cellphone and the business' cordless phone. At 8:31 p.m. and 48 seconds, the suspect finally bolts from the store, less than three minutes before police rush inside to find the handcuffed clerk.
Afzal said he did not want to publicly release the footage because it may add to the clerk's grief and frighten other employees.
According to the arrest warrant filed against Reed:
After learning the clerk's cellphone was stolen, police immediately asked Luzerne County 911 to attempt to track the location of the phone using GPS. Meanwhile, the clerk told police a female had entered the store several times prior to the robbery, was acting "suspicious," and might know something about the robbery.
Shortly after the robbery, Edwardsville police located the woman, Katie Rose Kelly, 27, of Edwardsville, a few blocks away.
"They happened to ask her if she saw anyone running and she pointed them in the opposite way. She pointed them in the wrong direction," said investigating officer Shawn Reilly, of Larksville police.
Kelly was detained by police, who later determined she is Reed's girlfriend.
A man suspected of being a "lookout" during the robbery, Wayne Taylor, 37, of Philadelphia, was then located on the porch of Kelly's apartment at 198 Jackson St. in Edwardsville, police said.
Police said Taylor admitted he was the "lookout" and identified Reed as the suspect. Taylor said Reed plotted to rob the store to support Reed's and Kelly's drug habit.
Officers called the clerk's stolen cellphone and heard it ringing inside Kelly's apartment. They spotted the phone blinking on a couch in the home. Authorities then executed a search warrant at the property and found several packs of cigarettes, $286 in cash and a key to the handcuffs that were placed on the clerk.
Police said Reed fled with hundreds more in cash and about 10 cartons of cigarettes.
Taylor and Kelly were charged with robbery and theft. Taylor was jailed in the Luzerne County Correctional Facility in lieu of $50,000 cash bail, while Kelly was jailed in lieu of $10,000 cash bail.
Anyone with information on Reed's whereabouts is asked to call Larksville police at 570-714-9846.
570-821-2055, @cvbobkalSuspect in Nu-Mart robbery
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