Arrest made in Valdosta, Lowndes store robberies

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VALDOSTA — A Thomasville man arrested after a Friday robbery in Valdosta has been connected to a string of Lowndes County store robberies, according to authorities.

Donald Williams, 24, was taken to the Lowndes County Jail Friday and faces two counts of armed robbery, a Lowndes County Sheriff’s office statement said.

He faces another armed robbery charge plus one felony count of possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime from Valdosta police, according to a statement from the Valdosta Police Department.

In the robbery Friday, police responded to the Family Dollar, 512 E. Central Ave., at about 9 a.m. after getting a 911 call about a robbery, the police statement said. A man had entered the store with a gun and demanded money, police said.

After taking the money from the clerk, he fled behind the store, the police statement said.

A short time after a BOLO (be on the lookout) was issued, a Lowndes County detective noticed a vehicle matching the description in the area of U.S. 84 and James Road, police said.

The suspect was detained by deputies, the police statement said.

Investigation connected Williams to two recent store robberies in Lowndes County, the sheriff’s office statement said.

At about 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, the Dollar General on Bemiss Road at Walker’s Crossing north of Moody Air Force Base was robbed, Lowndes County Sheriff Ashley Paulk said.

A man with a gun entered and demanded an unknown amount of cash, the sheriff said.

Investigators determined the suspect was picked up by a car about 500 yards from the store, Paulk said.

It was the second robbery of a Dollar General in Lowndes County in a week.

At about 10:30 a.m., Oct. 1, a man entered the Dollar General on U.S. 41 near Dasher, said Capt. Stryde Jones with the sheriff’s office.

He robbed the clerk, who believed he had a gun, Jones said. He got away with an undetermined amount of money. No one was harmed, the captain said.

The investigation has also linked Williams to a robbery in Hamilton County, Fla., the sheriff’s statement said.

This investigation was a multi-agency effort by the Thomas County Sheriff’s Office, the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office, the Valdosta Police Department and the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office, the statement said.

“This is a great example of our local law-enforcement agencies working together ... We appreciate the assistance of the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office in their quick identification and apprehension of this offender,” Valdosta Police Chief Leslie Manahan said in a statement.

Terry Richards is senior reporter at The Valdosta Daily Times.

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