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Witnesses help catch suspect

CONYERS - Through the help of citizen witnesses and quick police response, an 18-year-old Covington man was arrested Tuesday soon after he allegedly robbed Express Cash on West Avenue in Conyers.

Conyers Police Chief David Cathcart said the suspect, Christopher Alexander Strozier, 18, of 210 Berkshire Path in Covington, was wearing black shoes, a black T-shirt, black pants and a black bandanna fit just below the eyes when he entered the store sometime around 5:30 p.m.

Strozier reportedly walked directly to an employee with Express Cash who was standing behind the counter.

"The victim said the suspect pointed a small silver or gray pistol at him and he thought the guy was going to say something, but then he turned around and looked out the windows facing the street, and the suspect moved the victim toward the office," Cathcart said. "As they were going toward the office, which is at the front part of the store, the victim made a decision to take off running out the door, yelling for help."

The chief said there were several witnesses to the incident. One of those witnesses, who was traveling down West Avenue in his vehicle, saw the victim run out of the store yelling for help and saying he had been robbed.

"At the same time, the witness saw a black male with the same description running out of the store toward Green Street," Cathcart said.

The witness turned his vehicle around to follow the man and saw him go into a building behind the Shell gas station on West Avenue. The suspect was then seen running toward a building on West Circle and was apprehended a short time later behind the Georgia Power Company building on Green Street, Cathcart said.

Strozier was arrested and received a litany of charges, including robbery, aggravated assault, carrying a concealed weapon and possession of a weapon during the commission of a crime. The man was also charged with possession of a weapon within 1,000 feet of school because Rockdale County Public School's Open Campus is also on West Avenue. Cathcart said he was charged with loitering and prowling because officers believe the suspect scouted several other locations in the area.

In other crime news, the CPD continues to search for a man who robbed a clerk at Americas Best Value Inn on Dogwood Drive last weekend. Cathcart said a black male believed to be in his early 20s with dreadlocks and dressed in all black, including a black mask over his face, entered the hotel a little after 11 p.m. on March 28, pointed a pistol at the clerk and demanded that she give him all the money.

The chief said the suspect kept pushing her and telling her to hurry. He took the money from the cash drawer and then told the victim to lie face down on the floor. The man then allegedly took the victim's purse and pulled the phone cord out of the base.

Aimee Jones can be reached at aimee.jones@rockdalecitizen.com.