Originally created 07/20/00

Thomson authorities hunt man in robbery

Thomson police were searching Wednesday for a man who they said robbed a Popeye's restaurant after firing a gun and ordering workers and customers into a freezer.

Thomson police Chief John Hathaway said the robber entered the store on U.S. Highway 78 at about 2:25 p.m. carrying a small-caliber handgun and told those inside it was a holdup.

"They looked at him in disbelief, and so he fired a shot into the ceiling to get their attention," Chief Hathaway said.

Chief Hathaway said the gunman then told the customers and employees to get in the freezer and had a store manager give him the cash out of a register.

"When I got here, everybody was still in the freezer," Chief Hathaway said. "They were pretty shook up."

The robber, identified as black, about 5 feet, 7 inches tall, 170 pounds and wearing goggles, was seen running into a neighborhood behind a shopping center near the restaurant.

Columbia County Sheriff's Office dogs assisted in the search, which included deputies going door to door asking questions.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation also was called in.

By 6:30 p.m., the man had not been found. Chief Hathaway said his department would search late into the night.

Reach Preston Sparks at (706) 868-1222, Ext. 110, or ccchron@augustachronicle.com.


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