Fayetteville Police arrest 2 in string of armed robberies

EMBED </>More Videos

Residents are concerned despite the arrests.

Fayetteville Police have made been arrests in connection to three armed robberies early Sunday morning outside of local businesses. The two men arrested have been charged with robberies outside a grocery store, bar and bowling alley.

Stay on top of breaking news stories with the ABC11 News App

Detectives with the Fayetteville Police's Robbery Unit have arrested and charged Thomas Eugene Skipper, 26, and Jason Allen Gates, 28.

These two suspects, Thomas Skipper, left, and Jason Gates, were caught on surveillance cameras. They were later arrested.

Although the two men are now behind bars, residents living in the neighborhood are worried about going to the grocery store.

"So now you can't even let them come up to the store," said resident Shirley Guilfoyle.

Guilfoyle shops at her neighborhood Food Lion often, but is now thinking twice before letting her children go alone.

"I wasn't sure what Food Lion it was but I always come to this one. I was shocked to learn it was this one," Guilfoyle said.

Fayetteville police say the victim was leaving the grocery store heading for her car. Suddenly, a car drove up, a man jumped out and pointed a gun at her head. The suspect snatched the victim's purse, jumped back in the car and took off.

"That young lady didn't deserve what happened to her," said resident Marie Shoffner. "It doesn't scare me because fear don't scare me period. It just makes you aware."

While detectives were investigating that 8 a.m. robbery at the Food Lion at 7071 Raeford Road, they determined that Skipper and Gates were involved in two earlier robberies.

The first one happened about 2 a.m. Sunday at the Pour House, 2917 Sigman St. A man said he went outside when a man approached him and asked for a light for his cigarette. The victim was then struck in the back of his head and knocked to the ground, where the suspects stole jewelry and the victim's cell phone.

About 45 minutes later, an employee of B&B Bowling Lanes, 3003 Fort Bragg Road, was taking out the trash when two men approached him with handguns. They hit him on the head, causing minor injuries, then took his money and keys to the business.

Skipper and Gates were charged with three counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon and three counts of felonious conspiracy to commit robbery.

Skipper and Gates were traced to Mount Olive, NC, and taken into custody without incident.

They are being held at the Duplin County Detention Center and are awaiting extradition back to Fayetteville.

Meanwhile, Shoffner offered advice for other residents who frequent stores alone.

"Be watchful when you're coming in and going out," she said. "Who you're talking to or associating with is also a factor."
Related Topics:
fayetteville newsfayetteville police departmentarmed robberyarrestcumberland county newsCumberland CountyFayetteville
(Copyright ©2018 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.)