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Gadsden police investigate series of armed robberies - abc27 WHTM

Update: Gadsden police arrest armed robbery suspects

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U'kee Rashaud Knowles U'kee Rashaud Knowles
GADSDEN, Ala. -

Update: Gadsden police arrested two suspects accused of robbing a pair of West Meighan Boulevard gas station convenience stores.

Officers arrested 23-year-old U'kee Rashaud Knowles and a 15-year-old for two counts of first degree robbery.  Police said they plan to charge the juvenile as an adult.  Knowles is also charged with one count of sodomy.

Investigators said Knowles and Robinson robbed the Grub Mart at the intersection of West Meighan and 11th shortly after midnight Saturday and the Kangaroo at the intersection of West Meighan and 12th shortly after midnight Tuesday.

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Gadsden police are looking for leads in several armed robberies during the past two weeks.

The first armed robbery was on July 4 at the Mayan Mexican Grill.  Workers unloaded a shipment of chicken after closing time when two robbers with gun forced the employees into the kitchen and onto the ground.

The two masked men stole cash, keys, and a cell phone.  None of the victims suffered injuries, as police said the employees did what the men pointing guns at them told them to do.

"Comply.  There's no amount of money in the cash drawer that's worth losing life over," Gadsden police sergeant Patrick Chumley said.

Two men robbed the Grub Mart at the intersection of West Meighan Boulevard and 11th early Saturday.  About 72 hours later, two men robbed the Kangaroo at the intersection of West Meighan Boulevard and 12th.

Witnesses at the Grub Mart said both robbers were African-American.  An employee at the Kangaroo service station said one of the two robbers was African-American while the other was Caucasian.  Police are not sure if it is two separate two-man crews, or if one of the robbers is working with multiple accomplices.

"Even though they're about two blocks apart, we don't have any reason right now to believe that they're related.  But if anybody has any information on this, we'd ask them to give the police department a call," Chumley said.

In one of the gas station robberies, a female victim told officers one of the men was going to sexually assault her but the second man -- who was standing lookout -- yelled that it was time for them to go.

Investigators advise people who work overnight to be cautious.  Chumley said if an employee believes "in their gut that something's wrong, go ahead and call police."  He said customers should also check their surroundings.

Police encourage employees who leave work at night to go directly to their vehicles.  If items need to go to a dumpster, Chumley said it is best to leave the trash by the main building overnight so an employee on the morning shift can walk it out in the daylight.

He said people should be extra cautious right now as robbers can be repeat offenders.

"Sometimes they do it and get away with it the one time, and they'll never do it again.  I've seen them where they just do a string of them in different cities and even in different states," Chumley said.

If you have information about any of these three armed robberies, contact the Gadsden police detective division at 256.549.4629.

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