Whitesburg KY

Police say suspect admits to robbing store at Pound, Va.



Police say a Blackey man has admitted to robbing a Virginia convenience store.

Kentucky State Police Vehicle Enforcement Sergeant Oria Smith arrested William Harold Sawyer, 57, after Smith conducted a traffic stop in Eolia on a 1990 Black Toyota pickup truck. The vehicle matched the description given by Virginia authorities of a truck used in a robbery at the FasMart in Pound at 11:59 a.m. on September 26.

Sawyer, of 8745 Highway 7 South, confessed to the armed robbery, according to an arrest citation. Virginia police identified Sawyer as the robber.

Sawyer was arrested and lodged in the Letcher County Jail. He waived extradition.

Warrants are being obtained in Virginia for the robbery.

Smith was assisted on scene by Lt. Brian Damron of the Letcher County Sheriff ’s Department, Kentucky State Police Trooper Adam Hall and KSP Officer Darvin Marsillett.

The Coalfied Progress of Norton reported that quick action on the part of the FasMart store manager and police led to the arrest of Sawyer.

It was about 10:30 on Friday morning when police were dispatched to an armed robbery in progress at the FasMart convenience store at the U.S. 23 intersection with North Fork Road.

Jenay Tate, editor of The Progress, wrote that a man had entered the store, brandished a .22 caliber pistol and demanded all their cash, Pound Police Chief Tony Baker said. The manager complied and employees “were terrified,” Baker said. No one was hurt.

But emp loyees had the presence of mind not only to summons police quickly, but also to be observant, the chief said. When Pound Police Captain Richard Thacker arrived on the scene, they advised that the suspect was driving a vehicle with Kentucky plates and had left the store traveling south on U.S. 23.

Thacker immediately got word to Kentucky authorities, suspecting that a Kentucky driver headed south on U.S. 23 might take the backroads of South Fork toward the Kentucky line.

Thacker was right. Kentucky State Police stationed themselves on that route and stopped the alleged gunman, Baker said.

Baker said Sawyer was charged with armed robbery and the use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.

Since Pound sits at the Kentucky line, borders Dickenson County and has back-roads connections in all directions, Baker said it is standard procedure for town officers to notify surrounding law enforcement agencies.

Information from the FasMart employees was key to quick apprehension, he said, adding that they “did an outstanding job to handle such a terrifying event.”

Baker noted that “this happened in broad daylight. No one expects anyone to come in on you during the day and rob you at gun point.”

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