Sunshine Express Robbery Suspects Arrested,Neighborhood Relieved - WSET.com - ABC13

Sunshine Express Robbery Suspects Arrested, Neighborhood Relieved

Posted:
Patty Whitehead Patty Whitehead
Levar Washington Levar Washington
Gregory Stewart Gregory Stewart
Steven Thompson Steven Thompson

Reporter: Mark Kelly l Videographer: Dan Heffner

(6:00 p.m. Thursday) Lynchburg, VA - Police made four arrests Thursday for back-to-back robberies at a Lynchburg convenience store.  Employees at Sunshine Express Market say the arrests allowed them to take back their store and their neighborhood.

Sunshine Express first got robbed just two days before Christmas. This week police say two of the same suspects hit it again.

Pollard Street us a residential community, which is why a robbery at the corner store hit the neighborhood hard. And, they were thrilled Thursday it got resolved.

Workers at the store are happy that they can finally put their fear behind them.

Store Manager Keisha Grant says Sunshine Express is not just her job, it's her neighborhood market.

"Get our neighborhood back, get our store back, feel, you know what I mean, not so on edge. I'm very pleased," said Grant.

Sunshine Express Employee Renee Persinger now stocks her shelves with a clear mind.

"It had everybody really scared and really nervous, and to know that justice was done, it feels fantastic," said Persinger.

Every face is familiar at Sunshine. Grant says when customers walk through her door, she knows them by name.

"If I don't know them personally, I will speak out. I will say, 'hello, how are you, where are you from, I haven't seen you before,'" said Grant.

So, one look at the suspects arrested, she knew they weren't regulars.

"You sit back and think it will never happen to you and then when it does, it hits home pretty hard. So now, I think we're getting the idea that we need to work with each other a lot more," said Persinger.

Persinger wants to round up more people for the neighborhood watch. LPD says that's a great idea.

"We acknowledged many times before that we can't do it all by ourselves. Many times citizens have stepped up and given us information," said Lt. Alan Faircloth, Lynchburg Police Department.

Police say witnesses were one key to solving this crime too.

"I'm so glad, I'm grateful, I'm relieved, relieved," said Grant.

When asked why they think the store got robbed, employees at Sunshine refused to blame the economy. They said that's just a cop out.

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(11:30 a.m. Thursday) Lynchburg, VA - Lynchburg Police say they've found the people who robbed the Sunshine Market Express two times in the past three weeks.

They called in a tactical team and crisis negotiation unit to make the arrests Thursday morning.

Steven Thompson and Gregory Stewart, both 23, are charged in connection with the robbery there on December 23 and the one on January 10.

Patty Whitehead, 36, and Levar Washington, 30, are charged in connection with the robbery there on December 23.

If you have any more information about these robberies, Lynchburg Police want to hear from you.

Details of the arrests from Lynchburg Police:

December 23, 2010 Robbery

Patty L. Whitehead, B/F, DOB 10/22/74, of Lynchburg for conspiracy to commit robbery

Levar D. Washington, B/M, DOB 04/10/80 of Lynchburg for robbery and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony

Steven W. Thompson, Jr., B/M, 07/17/87 of Lynchburg for robbery, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony

Gregory T. Stewart, B/M, 10/17/87, of Lynchburg for robbery and the use of a firearm in the commission of a felony

January 10, 2011 Robbery

Steven W. Thompson, Jr., B/M, 07/17/87 of Lynchburg for grand larceny and wearing a mask in public

Gregory T. Stewart, B/M, 10/17/87, of Lynchburg for grand larceny

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