Armed robbers strike Waffle House

CONYERS - Two men forced a server to the ground at gunpoint as they robbed the Waffle House at Ga. Highway 138 and Interstate 20 Thursday morning, according to the Rockdale County Sheriff's Office.

The robbery occurred at about 7 a.m. when two black males walked into the restaurant brandishing handguns. The Waffle House is located on one of the busiest intersections in the county, but no customers were in the restaurant at the time of the robbery, according to RCSO spokeswoman Sgt. Jodi Shupe.

Only a manager and server were working when the gunmen entered the restaurant. One of the suspects grabbed the female server and forced her to the ground while the second man demanded money from the manager, Shupe said.

The gunmen left the restaurant with an undisclosed amount of cash on foot. Shupe said eyewitnesses saw the suspects leave in a small, black SUV believed to be a Chevrolet Blazer that was parked behind the Waffle House at the Salem Gate shopping center.

Shupe said it was unknown whether a third person acting as a driver was involved in the robbery.

Shupe said the first 911 call received was from a passerby who was walking in the area. The caller notified authorities before the restaurant workers were able to call.

"He didn't know about the armed robbery," she said. "The man told operators he saw a black male running in the area and thought it looked suspicious."

One suspect was described as between 6 feet and 6 feet, 3 inches tall, with a small corn-row weave hairstyle, and wearing a pink or purple bandana over his face and a gray hooded pullover shirt.

The second robber was described as being shorter, at about 5 feet, 3 inches to 5 feet, 5 inches tall and was wearing a dark shirt with the hood pulled over his head.

Shupe said RCSO investigators were reviewing videotape from several security cameras at the restaurant to determine the robbers' identities.

Thursday's incident was the fourth armed robbery at a local Waffle House this year. The sheriff's office responded to three robberies: the one Thursday, one in April at the Waffle House on Salem Road and another on Sigman Road in January.

The Conyers Police Department responded to one Waffle House armed robbery in May at the West Avenue restaurant.

In 2006, four armed robberies of Waffle Houses were reported. Three occurred within a two-week period in December of that year. Neighboring DeKalb County also reported four Waffle House robberies in November and December 2006.

Shupe said deputies were dispatched to other nearby Waffle House restaurants Thursday as a precaution after the armed robbery was reported.

Jay Jones can be reached at jay.jones@rockdalecitizen.com.