Sumter Sheriff’s make four arrests in robbery

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 5, 2005

The Sumter County Sheriff’s Department wasted little time in making arrests connected to an April 27 armed robbery of a Coatopa convenience store.

The arrests came only minutes after the robbery and all of the items were immediately recovered.

Arrested in connection with the robbery were Aquila Ruffin, 18 of Cuba, Johnathan Williams, 18 of York, Grant Kimbrough, 18, of Eutaw and a 15 year old juvenile.

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Sumter County Sheriff Johnny Hatter said good police work and cooperation led to the quick solving of the crime.

“The sheriff’s office has a lot of people to thank for helping us solve this matter so quickly,” Hatter said. “The staff at the store was able to give us a good description of the suspects and the vehicle, which is extremely important.”

All four have been charged with robbery, first degree, which is a class, A felony.

The case is an unfortunate example of good kids who had a lapse in judgment. Hatter said three of the suspects had recently dropped out of school where they had been good students who had stayed out of trouble prior to the incident.

“It is such a shame that young guys who could have so much going for them would get into this kind of mess,” Hatter said. “If they had stayed in school and had to get up the next morning they would not have had time to be out and get into trouble.”

The robbery was reported at 9:20 p.m. on April 27 when the clerk of the Highway 28 Amoco, formerly known as Sparky’s Grocery, dialed 911 and reported an armed robbery. She and a second employee were able to give an accurate description of the black GMC full sized truck used in the getaway and a rough description of the three masked men.

Unfortunately for the robbers, a Sumter County Deputy was already in the area and was able to respond immediately in the direction of the store.

As the deputy approached the store he met a vehicle matching the description and began pursuit. The deputy was then able to stop the vehicle and held the four occupants until additional law enforcement could make it to the scene.

Hatter said nearby law enforcement agencies was crucial in their role of apprehending the suspects.

“We are fortunate that we have other law enforcement agencies close by that are willing to give us plenty of help in a hurry,” Hatter said. “I need to thank the Livingston Police Department and the University of West Alabama Police Department for getting there so fast when my officers needed them.”

Taken in the robbery were several cartons of cigarettes, and a small amount of cash. The gun used in the robbery, which was tossed out the window of the truck during the chase, was also recovered after the arrests were made.