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W.Va. man charged in armed robbery

March 24, 2004|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A Martinsburg man was charged Tuesday in connection with a knifepoint robbery at a small grocery store Monday night.

Brian Clinton Walls, 33, of 122 Five Point Ave., was charged with a felony count of aggravated robbery after he gave police a statement admitting that he robbed the store because he needed heroin, according to allegations contained in a two-page criminal complaint filed in Berkeley County Magistrate Court.

Detective Sgt. George Swartwood, of the Martinsburg Police Department, investigated. He said about $400 was taken in the robbery, which happened at around 8 p.m. Monday at Crowell's Village Store on North Queen Street.

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One of the clerks said a man approached the register to buy fishing worms. When she placed his money in the register, he pulled out a butcher knife, held it in one hand and grabbed the money with his other hand, she told police. The robber fled on foot, police said.

A knife was later found nearby on Second Street, records state.

The clerk who was robbed and another clerk both described the robber to investigators and the second helped police put together a composite sketch, records state.

On Tuesday afternoon Martinsburg Police Chief Ted Anderson stopped a car on North Queen Street and said the driver matched the robber's description, records state.

After a warrant check showed an active warrant for Walls for failure to appear in court on an unrelated charge, he was taken to the police station. There Walls gave police a statement, which was recorded, police said.

In the statement Walls said that he robbed the store because he was "feigning" - or in need of heroin, court records allege. He said he's been using heroin for a while, records allege.

Walls told police that he took the knife from his home and, after the robbery, threw it away. He apologized for scaring the clerk, records state.

Both clerks were shown several photographs, including one of Walls. Although neither identified him with certainty, both said the picture of Walls most closely resembled the robber, court records state.

Walls was being held in Eastern Regional Jail on $50,000 bond Tuesday night, a spokeswoman said.

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