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Armed robbers hit Texas Wal-Mart


This news story was published on January 11, 2012.
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Robert Stanton, Houston Chronicle –

Harris County investigators are looking for at least two suspects armed with a shotgun and high-powered assault rifle who robbed a Wal-Mart store in Atascocita late Tuesday, officials said.

The men entered the Wal-Mart Supercenter at 6626 E. FM 1960 at 11 p.m., as employees were loading up a cart with tills containing cash from the night’s business, said Deputy Thomas Gilliland of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.

The heist took under 4 minutes. No shots were fired and no one was hurt.

“They walked over to where the employees were loading up the cart, they grabbed the cart, turned around and exited back out,” Gilliland said. A total of $10,000 was taken in the robbery.

Witnesses said the suspects hopped in a white 1995-96 Ford Taurus and sped off. The vehicle was found abandoned about 1-1/2 miles south of the store in the Eagle Springs subdivision near Yellowstone Trail, Gilliland said. Sheriff’s deputies, assisted by Harris County Pct. 4 deputy constables, set up a perimeter in the area and called in canine units, but the suspects escaped the net.

“They fled through the area, jumping over fences through subdivisions,” said Pct. 4 Constable’s Capt. Wally Wieghat. “Two (HCSO) canines tried to find them but lost track. They may have hopped into another vehicle somewhere.”

Investigators plan to interview store customers and employees, but Gilliland stopped short of calling the heist a possible inside job.

“It is one of the areas that our investigators will be looking into,” Gilliland said. “At this point, we’re not sure. We’re looking at all possibilities.”

Investigators were reviewing surveillance footage of the store in an attempt to ID the suspects and to determine the type of weapons used in the robbery. One of the men was wielding a shotgun, while the other had a long gun – likely a high-caliber weapon, Gilliland said.

TV stations were reporting the robbers had AK-47 assault rifles.

Wieghat, of the Pct. 4 constable’s office, said the use of a high-caliber weapon in any robbery is a concern.

“It’s always dangerous when they use assault-type weapons because of the velocity of the rounds involved,” he said. “It is something that concerns us. That’s why so many units responded. There were about 15 units (at scene), including five from our office.”

Both suspects are described as black males. The first suspect was wearing a red plaid shirt, dark pants and a cloth covering on his face, investigators said. The other suspect wore a dark-colored hoodie and pants, both possibly blue or black; his face also was covered.

Several witnesses said they saw four suspects involved in the heist, but are investigators believe there likely were only two, Gilliland said.

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