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Suspect in string of robberies, attempted murder jailed on $1M bond

By WCTI Staff
Published On: Jan 02 2014 04:40:41 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 02 2014 10:54:53 PM CST

A man is being jailed on more than a $1.1 million bond for allegedly committing a string of armed robberies, attempted murder and other crimes in two counties.

LENOIR & GREENE COUNTIES -

A man is being jailed on more than a $1.1 million bond for allegedly committing a string of armed robberies, attempted murder and other crimes in two counties.

According to the Lenoir County Sheriff's Office, Emmanuel Jerome Gardner, 32, was arrested Thursday at his home on Paul's Path Road northwest of Kinston.

Deputies said Gardner was involved in three armed robberies, an attempted murder and an attempted break-in late last year in Lenoir and Greene Counties.

The first robbery happened on Nov. 25 at the North Lenoir Community Mart on Institute Road, investigators said. Gardner and another suspect allegedly rushed the store owner and robbed him of money and cigarettes.

Lenoir County Sheriff Chris Hill said the owner of the store was shot at while he tried to escape.

"This suspect is the man who fired at him and charged with actually shooting at the clerk,” he said.

Later that day, Gardner and his accomplice tried to break into Lewis Food Mart at 354 Highway 264 Alternate in Greene County, said deputies.

Gardner was then allegedly involved in an armed robbery at the Fast Break on Kingold Boulevard in Snow Hill on Dec. 1.

"We had this person on our radar after the 2nd armed robbery," Sheriff Hill said.

Finally,on Dec. 10, Gardner committed an armed robbery at Crossroads Grocery on Hugo Road in Lenoir County, investigators said.

Crossroads Grocery owner Ray Sarah was happy to hear the news.

"It was just a good feeling knowing that we got him. i mean that he is gone and put away, off the streets," he said.

Deputies said they used surveillance video to learn that the robberies were connected.

Authorities said they identified Gardner as a person of interest on Dec. 17, but he did not meet with the lead investigator like he said he would.

The big break in the case came on Thursday, when Lenoir County Sheriff Chris Hill was riding a car near Gardner's home. Sheriff Hill said he saw Gardner park his vehicle under an overpass near Gardner's residence. When a deputy and his canine searched the overpass, they found a coffee can hidden in a drain tile, said Sheriff Hill. Inside the can were masks and the gun believe to be used in the robberies.

Garner was then arrested and charged with the following:

· Three counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon (Two from Lenoir County, 1 from Snow Hill)
· One count of attempted first-degree murder (Lenoir County)
· One count of second-degree kidnapping (Lenoir County)
· One count of attempted breaking or entering (Greene County)
· Three counts of possession of firearm by felon (Lenoir County)
· Two other counts pending for Snow Hill and Greene County

"We have stopped this man dead in his tracks and there won't be any more robberies coming from him anymore,” Sheriff Hill said.

Gardner is being held under a $1.1 million secured bond. He has an extensive criminal record that already includes armed robbery, said investigators.

Deputies added that Garner's accomplice is still at large. They are working to identify the suspect.