by: Kathryn Burcham Updated:
ALBEMARLE, N.C. - An arrest has been made in the killing of a coin shop owner in Albemarle.
Court records show an Albemarle man plotted for years to rob and kill an elderly store owner. Albemarle detectives detailed Ryan Efird's plans in a search warrant filed Wednesday at the Stanly County courthouse.
Detectives have been searching for weeks for a suspect in the fatal shooting of Eldridge Roger Gibson, 81, during a robbery at the B&G Coins Shop on West Main Street near Highway 73.
The Albemarle police chief confirmed officials arrested Efird, 45, in connection with the Oct. 31 slaying.
Police said they had been tracking Efird movements for days and finally pulled him over Tuesday night off Hart Sell Road just outside the city limits.
Investigators said with the help of the SBI they were able to enhance surveillance pictures taken the night of Gibson's killing, which led them to a positive identification of Efird as a suspect.
"We were able to get a little bit of an enhancement on those pictures with the help of the SBI and made image even more clear, which gave us more people saying, that's who we think it is," said William Halliburton with the Albemarle Police Department.
Police searched an apartment on South Secont Street on Wednesday morning where Efird lives with his fiancée. The search warrant stated police interviewed Efird's associates who said he had planned to rob and kill Gibson for years.
Police said they had been working nonstop for the past 21 days on the case, which rattled the community.
IMAGES: Scene of Albemarle coin shop robbery, shooting
Police said the robber left with two bags that he put in the truck. Police said the shooter took off with the victim's white Ford F-150.
When police arrived, they found Gibson on the floor. Gibson was rushed to Stanly Regional Hospital.
Albemarle police and SBI agents went door to door after the shooting, pushing for any information in the killing of the well-known businessman and former city employee.
"He was a nice guy, very nice guy. Always talked about his coins," said Richard Honeycutt, who runs a garage across the street from the tiny cinder block coin shop.
Police said Efird was released from prison earlier this year after he was convicted for breaking and entering.
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