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Police issue arrest warrants charging two men in robberies

February 21, 2003|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Police released photographs Thursday of two men wanted in connection with separate robberies, one at a health food store and the other at a newsstand, both in Martinsburg.

Detective Sgt. George Swartwood, of the Martinsburg Police Department, said he believes both men fled the area.

Warrants were obtained charging Cornelius "Neal" Alexander, 36, with aggravated robbery. Police allege Alexander robbed Pepper's Newsstand, just a few doors down from the police department, on Monday, taking $183. In a nearby trash bin, police recovered a coat and bandanna worn by the robber, along with a BB handgun.

Alexander's last known address was listed in court records as 246 N. Queen St., Martinsburg.

A second man, Thomas Lee Saines, 51, was charged with aggravated robbery and obstructing an officer because he allegedly gave false information to police. Police said Saines used a tire iron to rob Healthway Natural Foods on Foxcroft Avenue, taking $309. That robbery happened on Feb. 7.

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Swartwood said that after the robbery, he spoke to Saines, who was found near a white Ford Escort, which police believe was the getaway car for the robbery.

At that time, Saines told Swartwood he did not know anything about the Escort, which was found behind a house on Winchester Avenue. A witness, however, told police that Saines had the car at the time of the robbery, Swartwood said.

Police seized the car and a tire iron.

Although nobody was physically injured at either robbery, Swartwood said people still were hurt.

"Being the victim of an aggravated robbery is a very traumatic, emotional experience," he said.

Saines' last known address was listed in police records as Rogers Way in Inwood, W.Va.

Swartwood said officers have checked the homes of both Saines and Alexander, along with places they are known to frequent, but have not found either man.

Police are working to solve several area robberies, including two in 12 days at Olde Berkeley News at 105 N. Queen St.

The two were the latest in a string of at least 12 robberies in Berkeley County since October, police said.

Two of the more recent robberies include the Days Inn on Viking Way on Jan. 27; and the 7-Eleven at 846 E. Moler Ave. on Jan. 26.

Anyone with information is asked to call the police department at 304-264-2100.

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