Crime

Raleigh police charge two men with discount store robberies

Police this week charged two men with the armed robberies of two discount stores and are trying to determine if they are responsible for a series of similar robberies that began in July and ended this month, according to a search warrant application made public Wednesday.

Jamie Marachel Williams, 45, and Vincent Allen King Dewitt, 36, are charged with two felony counts each of robbery with a dangerous weapon and felony conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon.

Witnesses told police that Williams interviewed at one of the stores for an assistant manager’s position, but failed a criminal background check. Police think he may have returned to the store less than a month later and robbed it at gunpoint, according to the search warrant.

A second witness at a store in Knightdale told police that Williams formerly worked at the store but was fired when a bank deposit bag went missing, according to the warrant.

Police in Knightdale and Raleigh are investigating a half dozen robberies at Family Dollar and Dollar General stores. A gold-colored Chrysler 300, registered to Williams, figured prominently in some of the robberies and most of them occurred in the early morning, according to the warrant.

The first happened July 29, just after 7:30 a.m., at a Family Dollar in Knightdale. A store clerk told police she was leaving the store with a bank deposit when a man pushed her up against a wall, demanded the deposit bags and fled on foot. The woman told police that she saw Williams, who was the store’s ex-manager, parked at a gas station in the Chrysler 300, according to the search warrant.

A Knightdale detective met with Williams in Raleigh after the robbery. Williams consented to a search of the Chrysler, but the detective did not find anything connected to the robbery, court records show.

Less than a month later, on Aug. 22, the Family Dollar at 4654 Capital Blvd. was robbed. A store employee told police she was about to enter her car with the store’s bank deposits when a man armed with a handgun and wearing a box cutter on his belt robbed her. The woman initially resisted, but the man pushed the barrel of the gun in her side and told her he was going to shot her. The man fled on foot.

On Sept. 7, just before 7 a.m., someone robbed the Dollar General at 11313 Falls River Ave. in North Raleigh. The store manager told the police that she was walking out of the business with the bank deposits in her purse. A man brandishing a box cutter approached her as she locked the front door of the store. The man snatched the manager’s purse and tossed its contents on the ground. He grabbed the deposit bags and fled on foot.

The store manager told police that Williams interviewed for a manager’s position at the store and had been scheduled to start Aug. 21, but he failed a background check. The store manager said Williams arrived for the interview in a “nice” gold vehicle, according to the search warrant.

Officers are continuing their investigation to determine if Williams and Dewitt may also be responsible for robberies on Aug. 22 and Aug. 28, along with a Nov. 11 holdup of a store employee after the victim left work and arrived at home. Police think Williams and Dewitt followed the victim, court records show.

Raleigh detective B. Winston reported that he began “covert surveillance” of Williams and the 2007 Chrysler 300 in late October. In addition to seeing Williams and his car at stores that were robbed on Poole Road and Raleigh Boulevard, Winston reported that the manager of a Family Dollar store on Poole Road was robbed by two men who followed him home after he closed the store.

Police stopped the car the victim said had followed him – a gold, 2007 Chrysler 300. Williams was behind the wheel, and Dewitt was in a back seat. Police brought the robbery victim to the scene, and he said he was sure the Chrysler was the car the bandits had fled in and that Dewitt was one of the men who robbed him, Winston reported.

Investigators seized the two suspects’ mobile phones. They are hoping to uncover more clues in the case, court records show.

Williams remained in custody Wednesday night in lieu of a $500,000 bail. Dewitt is being held under a $351,000 bail, the spokeswoman reported.

Thomasi McDonald: 919-829-4533, @tmcdona75589225

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