By Matt Barbour, Weekend Anchor/Reporter - bio | email
MCMINN COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -- Athens police may be close to solving a recent rash of armed-robberies. The suspects have held up five businesses over the past few weeks, including four convenience stores and most recently a bank.
Athens police and the McMinn County Sheriff's Office believe a father and son are behind the robberies.
"A man just walked in with his mask, gloves and a hoodie on, and he just pointed a gun to my head and said 'give me all the money,'" says the owner of the Express Mart in McMinn County.
The store owner did not want to be identified, but says two weeks ago surveillance video was rolling at the Express Mart off Highway 39 in Athens, as a younger man walked in five minutes before closing, holding a handgun to his face.
"They just want to make quick money or something. They don't want to work," says the store owner.
"We're not happy about this type of crime in our county. It's very dangerous to commit crimes like this," says McMinn County Sheriff Joe Guy.
Guy says his office is working closely with the Athens police and the FBI to track down Brian Rose and his father, Larry Moore.
"Safety for the citizens is number one and even safety for the suspect," says Athens Police Detective Heith Willis.
Willis says Rose and Moore are tied to three convenience store robberies in city limits and most recently to an armed-robbery at the Capital Bank on Decatur Pike.
"Going to a bank is a much worse crime. It goes into federal statutes at that point," says Willis.
He says the bank robbery has raised even more concerns for investigators. While the store robberies took place at night, this one happened at 4:30 in the afternoon.
"It's during the day. Instead of being in the evening it's right when everyone's getting off work, they're cashing their checks. You have much more high probability of somebody getting hurt," says Willis.
Police believe Rose has been behind the gun, while Moore has been behind the wheel of the getaway vehicle.
They say to keep an eye out for an older model white Chevy pickup.
"These thugs need to stop," says the store clerk.
"We're going to make an arrest. I'm confident," says Sheriff Guy.
This is not the first run-in with the law for these two men. Moore has been arrested before on felony theft charges and drug charges. Rose has a wrap sheet as well.
If you have any information in this case, call the Athens Police Department at (423) 745-3687 or the McMinn County Sheriff's Office at (423) 745-5622.