Sheriff: Female suspect confessed to two armed robberies

STAFF REPORT :::

New details have emerged regarding the investigation that led to the arrest of two individuals in connection with two armed robberies of the North Expressway Exxon gas station formerly known as the Hot Spot.

According to a press release issued by Sheriff Darrell Dix, key physical evidence recovered after both incidents led to the suspects.

Following the first robbery Dec. 3, officials say the clerk reported an armed female had entered the business demanding cash, some of which was dropped in the area by the suspect and recovered as she fled south on Highway 19-41.

The business camera system captured the robbery and images of the suspect, who made no effort to cover her face, allowing clear images to be recorded.

Additional evidence including fingerprints and shoe prints also were collected.

Investigators used the print to identify the shoe allegedly worn by the suspect.

The store’s surveillance images were released, and the public was encouraged to be on the lookout for the suspect.

The second armed robbery occurred Dec. 7, with the report claiming the same woman had returned and robbed the business a second time.

Authorities say the store’s camera system recorded a tan Honda Accord driven by an African-American male in the parking lot. They say this man entered the business moment prior to the robbery, behaving as if he was in a hurry, but he did not make a purchase, and abruptly left the store.

Minutes later, the female suspect entered the store, brandished a firearm and demanded money from the clerk.

As in the first robbery, she then fled south on foot on Highway 19-41.

The surveillance footage confirmed the same suspect was involved in both incidents, and she was dressed in similar clothing during both armed robberies, including the shoes.

The Sheriff’s Office reports that while searching the area in which the suspect fled, Sgt. James Cape, of the Uniform Patrol Division, located a cell phone that matched the phone possessed by the suspect during the robbery.

The cellular service provider was identified and a search warrant on the phone was obtained, providing a name and other information related to the suspect.

This information led investigators to the Super 8 Motel located less than one mile from the Exxon gas station.

With assistance from the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office, the suspect’s name was confirmed and it was learned she had outstanding warrants from that neighboring law enforcement agency.

Investigators obtained a search warrant for the motel room and arrest warrants for the female that had been identified as Anna Caroline Halton.

Personnel of the SCSO Criminal Investigations, Special Operations and C.A.G.E. units surveilled the motel until the suspects were observed entering their room.

“Due to the fact that the suspect recklessly brandished a weapon in the both armed robberies, agents of the Special Operations Division forcibly entered the hotel room after they deployed a flashbang,” Dix said. “The suspects fled to the restroom where they stayed for approximately three minutes before complying with verbal commands and exiting. The male suspect, identified as George LeCoy Laster Jr, had the pistol on his person when he exited the bathroom. Both Halton and Laster were taken into custody without further incident.”

A search of the room revealed the clothing allegedly worn by Halton in both robberies, the shoes that matched the impressions taken by Crime Scene investigators and currency.

The weapon recovered from the person of LeCoy appeared to be the same weapon used in the robberies.

During her interview with investigators Halton admitted to committing both robberies and detailed how they occurred, officials said.

“At this point there is no reason to believe, nor is there any indication that the store clerk played any role in the robberies other than being the victim. Neither of these robberies are tied to the previous robberies at the Exxon or Marathon as all three of the suspects in those robberies were already in custody,” Dix said. “All of the Deputies, Investigators, Special Operations Agents and CAGE Unit Investigators that played a role from the initial response to the calls, locating and collecting vital evidence, obtaining search warrants for the phone and room, and taking the suspects into custody without incident, did an outstanding job in this investigation. We should all be proud of them and the work they do every day.”

Halton, age 17, has been charged with two counts of armed robbery, two counts of aggravated assault, two counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime and two counts of possession of a firearm by a minor.

George LeCoy Laster Jr., age 20, of Griffin has been charged with one count of armed robbery and one count of conspiracy to commit a felony.

Both are currently being held in the Spalding County Jail.

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