• Deputies search for 2 men after robbery in Conover

    By: Dave Faherty


    CATAWBA COUNTY, N.C. - Surveillance cameras captured an unusual robbery in Catawba County.

    The suspects never showed a weapon, and the owner didn't even realize a crime had happened until hours later.

    The men, who stole money from a business, spent a long time in the store and stayed calm during the whole thing. 

    Surveillance video showed two men enter the Whistle Stop Run-in near Conover and go right to work.   

    Deputies said one man diverted the owner's attention by buying lottery tickets while his alleged partner in crime slipped into the office area to rifle through the safe.  The owner, Mack Patel, had no idea what was going on.

    "I completely didn't know because I own the business for three years and I trust everybody who come in my store,” he said.

    Deputies said after stealing the money from the safe one of the men returned to the back of the store where he handed off some of the cash.

    The second man then returned to the counter to purchase the lottery tickets and drinks with the stolen money. 

    "They knew exactly what they were doing.   It's ironic that they would use the stolen money to pay for the lottery tickets they purchased from the store but at least they paid for it,” said Catawba County Sheriff Coy Reid.

    Customers at the store Tuesday said Patel works nearly 16 hours every day of the week.  They wish it never happened and hope the men responsible are caught. 

    "They need to be locked up for the rest of their lives.   Nobody should steal from anybody.   It's going to come back on them,” said customer Lafreedom Keeth.

    Deputies are hoping for the public’s help on this case. They believe the two men possibly left in a dark-colored Honda. Anyone with information on the case is asked to call 828-466-7229.

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