Holdup spree ends in arrest

Kerr Drug robbery leads to traffic stop

Staff WriterNovember 15, 2005 

The places police believe Charles W. Kochersberger visited the past four days could fit on anyone's list of errands: an ATM on Friday; grocery store on Saturday; bookstore on Sunday; and a pharmacy on Monday.

Raleigh police, however, say Kochersberger's "errand" was robbery.

Kochersberger, 26, of 415 S. Boylan Ave., was arrested Monday and charged with four counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon. He is accused of spending his Veteran's Day weekend holding up the three stores and a woman who was using a Cameron Village ATM, collecting a combined total of $640.

He lives with his parents, Bob Kochersberger, an N.C. State University journalism professor, and Janet Watrous, an Episcopal pastor. The elder Kochersberger writes occasional opinion columns for The News & Observer.

Bob Kochersberger declined to comment on his son's arrest.

Police believe the four-day string of robberies began when a woman was robbed of $39 while trying to make a deposit Friday afternoon at a Wachovia ATM in Cameron Village.

The next day, a man fitting Charles Kochersberger's description passed a note to a clerk at The Fresh Market, also in Cameron Village, demanding money. The robber left the specialty grocery store with a box of cereal and $315, said Jim Sughrue, spokesman for the Raleigh Police Department.

On Sunday, a crowd gathered at Quail Ridge Books & Music on Wade Avenue to hear Mildred "Mama Dip" Council talk about her recent book and Southern recipes she uses at her Chapel Hill restaurant.

Unbeknownst to the group, a man walked up to the bookstore's cash register with a thriller novel and a note telling the clerk, Nathan Miller, to hand over cash. The note advised Miller: "Don't be a hero and don't [expletive] this up." Miller handed over $167, according to arrest warrants.

On Monday morning, Kerr Drug on Avent Ferry Road was robbed of $119 after a man once again passed a note to a store employee. A description of the man and his truck, a 1997 Toyota pickup truck, were quickly passed on to police.

Shortly after, Officer R.J. Hoyle spotted Kochersberger driving the same truck with matching license plate numbers and pulled the driver over near the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and South Person Street, Sughrue said.

Charles Kochersberger listed his employer as The Gap in the Crabtree Valley Mall, but a male employee at the clothing store said Kochersberger never was on the company's payroll. Kochersberger was a recent applicant, and was scheduled to attend training Sunday. He never showed up.

Kochersberger remained in custody Monday night at the Wake County jail in lieu of $250,000 bail.

Staff writer Sarah Ovaska can be reached at 829-4622 |or sovaska@newsobserver.com.

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