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CPD: Man helps self to drink during robbery

CONYERS - Conyers police have arrested a Covington man who reportedly took a brief time out from robbing a convenience store to grab a cold drink from the store's cooler.

Alfonso Jerome Smith, 33, of 255 Saratoga Court, Covington, was arrested Wednesday and charged with robbery by force.

Conyers Police Chief David Cathcart said Smith is believed to be one of two men who tied up the clerk at Mini Foods located at the corner of Irwin Bridge Road and Main Street while they robbed the store sometime about 11 p.m. June 6.

"A black male wearing a royal blue shirt and jeans came in and asked for Swisher Sweets cigars. A second black male entered the store ... and when the clerk turned around to get the cigars, the first suspect jumped over the counter, tackled the clerk and told the second suspect to come around the counter," Cathcart said.

The chief said the first suspect, later identified as Smith, put plastic Flex-Cuffs on the victim, tying his hands behind his back.

"He never showed a weapon, but threatened if he moved, they would shoot him," Cathcart said.

"(Smith), who is heavy set, estimated to be between 270 and 300 pounds, apparently got thirsty because he ran over to the cooler to grab a drink," Cathcart said.

In the meantime, the second suspect reportedly took the returns from the cash drawer at the lottery register.

A customer entered the store just as the two suspects attempted to leave.

"Suspect No. 1 (Smith) tries to pull him in the store and a tussle begins. By that time suspect No. 2 runs out the door and gets in a getaway vehicle," Cathcart said. "Suspect No. 1 was last seen running toward Main Street."

Police officers were able to track down Smith through witness descriptions, and he was arrested Wednesday.

The second suspect remains at large. He is described a black man in his mid-20s, of medium build and between 5 feet, 5 inches and 5 feet, 7 inches tall. He was last seen wearing a white shirt, dark pants and a light-colored visor.

Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the Conyers Police Department at 770-483-6600. Anonymous tips can be left at 770-483-TIPS (8477) or online by clicking

on "Eye on Conyers" on the city's Web site, www.conyersga.com.

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