INDIAN TRAIL, N.C. - A Wake County man was charged in connection with a series of Aldi’s store robberies in multiple North Carolina cities, including Indian Trail, over the past several months.
Lionel Vernard Robinson, 40, of Wendell, North Carolina, is in the Cumberland County Jail where he faces charges, including multiple counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon and multiple counts of second-degree kidnapping.
“We are very thankful that no one was hurt during any of these robberies,” Union County Sheriff Eddie Cathey said. “We appreciate the cooperation and hard work by our detectives and all of the agencies who worked together to identify this suspect.”
The Union County Sheriff's Office said around 7:20 a.m., an armed suspect entered the Aldis in Indian Trail through a delivery door in the back of the store.
Detectives said the suspect led employees to a safe, where he robbed the store.
Deputies said the suspect managed to get away with more than $4,000.
"While in there, he ordered them to open the safe and empty the contents," Tony Underwood from the Union County Sheriff's Office said after the robbery.
Officials said the store does not open until 8 a.m. on Saturdays. Deputies said only three employees were inside at the time.
The suspect was wearing a reflective vest, dark clothing, gloves, and a Halloween mask.
"Very little skin was exposed, his size was very difficult to determine. He had a lot of heavy clothing. He was also somewhat hunched over. So, it was even difficult to determine the height of this individual," Underwood said.
The Union County Sheriff's Office said in the early stages of the investigation that this armed robbery may be part of something bigger. Deputies said this robbery has similarities to three other Aldi robberies across the state.
"What transpired inside that store is very similar to at least two or three other Aldi store robberies across North Carolina," Underwood said. "So, we have to look whether or not it's the same person and what, if any, connection they have to that food store."
No injuries were reported.
Shoppers said they were shocked to hear about the robbery and some asked the question, "Who robs an Aldi's?"
"Crazy, you never hear of something like this. Especially around here," David Krebs said.
"I hope they catch them soon because he's really a threat out there," Angel Quivihbi said.
This is an ongoing investigation. Check back with wsoctv.com for more information.
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