Robbery at Bi-lo on Ooltewah-Ringgold Road - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE 3: Robbery at Bi-lo on Ooltewah-Ringgold Road

Posted: Updated:

Story by Megan Boatwright
Eyewitness News Reporter

EAST HAMILTON, TN. (WRCB) --  A frightening hold-up at the Bi-Lo in East Hamilton County Tuesday.  Two men forced employees to crowd around the meat cooler while they robbed the store.  The suspects are still on the run, but didn't make away with any cash. 

Investigators haven't told us how the robbers got inside the store.  We do know the men were already inside, when employees arrived to open the store. 

"We're out in the suburbs," says Bi-Lo shopper Bobby McDaniel.  "I hope crime doesn't keep coming out in the suburbs, but it looks like it will." 

For East Hamilton residents crime scene tape outside the store on Ooltewah-Ringgold Rd feels like the inner city's long-arms of crime are creeping into their community.

Shoppers were kept away for several hours Tuesday morning, while sheriff's deputies investigated.  Authorities were called to the scene around 7:10 a.m. after vendors entered to find open doors and a suspiciously quiet store.

"The suspects were evidently already in the store when employees got there," says Janice Atkinson with the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office. 

Super Bi-Lo opens its doors at 7 a.m.  According to deputies 14 employees were in the store at the time.  Two armed men zip-tied 6-7 people, forcing everyone to crowd around a meat cooler.

"I'm just happy we weren't at work," says Theresa Tanner.  When Tanner arrived to work at the primary care physicians office next door, investigators and patrol cars were already outside.

"We won't be staying here by ourselves anymore," she says.  Bi-Lo's corporate office wouldn't let employees talk to the media, but issued the following statement, "the safety of our customers and teammates is our top priority.  We are cooperating fully with the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office on their investigation of the attempted robbery at one of our area stores earlier this morning.  Because the investigation is ongoing, Bi-Lo will not comment further."

Tanner's office treats many of Bi-Lo employees, which is why the nurse says she feels for them.

"I feel for what they went through," she says.  "I know it's very scary." 

The robbers fled without harming any employees.  The only suspect description available so far is two black men driving a silver or gray 4-door vehicle.

Deputies are working to obtain surveillance video.  Channel 3 will make it available when we receive it.









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