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Armed robbery suspect 'on the loose' in McDonough

By Jason A. Smith

jsmith@henryherald.com

McDonough Police have released a sketch of a man they believe is responsible for two recent robberies in the city.

The lead investigator in the case said the unknown individual has become "more brazen" with each victim. The first incident reportedly took place Nov. 21 at approximately 8 p.m., at The Crossing at McDonough apartments. According to Police Detective Art Sparks, a female resident arrived home and went into her apartment, just before she heard a knock at her door.

"When she opened the door, she saw a black male wearing a ski mask, a hooded jacket and blue jeans," said Sparks. "She immediately slammed the door, and he kicked the door in on her. He came into the apartment, put a knife to her throat and put her on the floor."

The detective added that the suspect tried to take money from the woman, who was four months pregnant at the time. However, the man reportedly ran from the scene after she told him she did not have any money.

Police believe the case may be connected to another incident, which allegedly took place Dec. 11, at Mercer University's McDonough campus. This time, said Sparks, the victim was a female student, who arrived at the school for class around 4:30 p.m.

"She gets out of her vehicle and was immediately approached by a black male," Sparks added. "He grabbed a nylon laptop case that she had in her hand, and her purse, yanked [them] away from her and took off."

The unknown culprit reportedly ran toward the same apartment complex.

The second alleged victim assisted police in creating a sketch of the suspect, at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation's headquarters in Atlanta. Sparks said several similarities exist in the descriptions of the man responsible for the incident at Mercer, and the one in the incident at The Crossing apartments.

"The clothing description [given after the Mercer robbery] is almost identical, to what the home invader wore in the first incident," the detective said. "We know for a fact that he is the one who committed the crime at Mercer University. The similarities in his build, his height, his clothing, and the fact he ran back to the apartments ... make him a person of interest in that crime."

The police department has sent the sketch, along with information on the alleged robberies, to other law-enforcement agencies in the Atlanta area. Sparks did not disclose the nature of the information he has reportedly obtained as a result, but said the suspect appears to be focusing his attacks on women in the area.

The detective is "certain" the suspect lives near where both alleged robberies took place, and that someone in the area knows the man police are looking for.

"We would like to get any information we can, before somebody ends up getting hurt," he continued. "He's getting more and more brazen about what he's doing ..."

Police Capt. Kyle Helgerson issued a call for local residents to come forward with any knowledge they may have about the identity of the suspect. According to him, authorities are "most definitely" entertaining the possibility the suspect may strike again before he is apprehended.

"This person is obviously violent," said Helgerson. "It's unknown if he has any weapons, but we're assuming that he's armed and dangerous. We want to let people in the area know he's on the loose."

The suspect is described as 5-feet, 11-inches tall, and weighing 170-180 pounds. Anyone with information about his identity, is asked to call Detective Art Sparks, at (770) 957-1237, ext. 112.