Arrests in Circle K, Piggly Wiggly hold-ups; Grey Goose robbery still under investigation
By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
Atmore police arrested last week two local men — one wanted in connection with the December 7 armed robbery of the Kangaroo Express (Circle K) convenience store on West Nashville Avenue, and one believed to be responsible for the armed robbery three days earlier of the Davisville, Fla. Piggly Wiggly.
An employee of the Escambia County Detention Center’s booking and release division reported this week that Thomas Darrelle McNeal, 25, of Atmore, remained in the facility, charged with one count of first-degree robbery in the Circle K hold-up. He is being held under a $250,000 bond.
Police Chief Chuck Brooks said McNeal was arrested December 10 by APD officers and investigators at an undisclosed site inside Atmore’s city limits.
The suspect allegedly walked into the store shortly after 2 a.m., asked a cashier about the price of cigarettes, then pulled a handgun and took an undisclosed amount of cash from the register.
McNeal fled the store on foot and quickly disappeared into the night as police established a perimeter of several blocks around the crime scene.
According to the Escambia County (Fla.) Sheriff’s Office, the Atmore man is also one of two suspects in the December 4 armed robbery of a Dollar General store in Pensacola, but county jail records indicate that no hold has been placed on him by Florida authorities.
Donald Lamar May, 37, of Flomaton was arrested when Flomaton police responded to a suspicious person complaint on Titi Street, where May resides. May had been sought by ECSO-Fla. as McNeal’s partner in crime for the Pensacola Dollar General robbery, which also occurred in the predawn hours.
Sheriff’s investigators believe May also participated in the robberies of two Circle K stores and a Happy 7 store in the Pensacola area.
Brooks said May, who is being held in the Escambia County, Ala. jail while awaiting extradition to Escambia County, Fla. on charges of armed robbery, aggravated assault and possession of a weapon during the commission of a felony, is not a suspect in the Circle K robbery.
Another Atmore man, 26-year-old Maurice Montraye Ervin, is also behind bars. He is charged with robbing the grocery store, which is located less than a mile from Atmore’s city limits, at gunpoint on December 4.
Ervin was taken into custody December 12 by Atmore police on a probation violation warrant. He remained this week in the Escambia County Detention Center, awaiting extradition to Escambia County, Fla.
He is believed to be the gunman who entered the grocery store at closing time on December 4, pointed a pistol at an employee’s head and took an undisclosed amount of cash.
Florida authorities are still investigating the December 6 armed robbery of Grey Goose Liquor Store, which is situated less than half a mile inside Florida, across the state line from Atmore, and no arrests have been announced.
McNeal is reportedly a suspect in that crime, although he has yet to be charged, while Ervin has not been connected to that robbery.
ECSO-Fla. investigators reported that a black male wearing a camouflage jacket and mask pointed a handgun at an employee and demanded the cash from the store’s lottery section, just hours before the convenience store heist in Atmore.