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Bunker Hill, W.Va., man charged following armed robbery at Berkeley Springs store

Robber wore robe and goggles, wielded knife and hammer

August 04, 2011
  • Zachary Branson Kerns
West Virginia Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. — A Berkeley County man was charged with two counts of armed robbery after he allegedly threatened clerks and customers at the Berkeley Springs Sheetz Thursday morning while dressed in a robe and goggles and wielding a knife and hammer, according to the Morgan County Sheriff's Office.

Zachary Branson Kerns, 22, of 1124 Mish Road near Bunker Hill, W.Va., also was charged with concealing a deadly weapon and public intoxication, according to a news release from the sheriff's office.

Kerns was being held in Eastern Regional Jail on Thursday morning on $50,000 bond, authorities said.

Deputies 1st Class Luke Shambaugh and Scott Lemon responded to a robbery-in-progress call at Sheetz at 245 S. Washington St. on Thursday at 1:36 a.m., arriving two minutes later, deputies said.

Dispatchers at the 911 center were notified that a man had entered the store wielding a knife and hammer, deputies said. He was wearing goggles over his face and a robe covered his body, deputies said.

The man said he was there to rob the store and approached the counter with a 12-pack of beer, threatening the female clerks and going behind the counter to steal packs of cigarettes, deputies said.

No one was injured, deputies said.

The man fled on foot, north on Mercer Street, before returning to the store to steal more cigarettes, deputies said. He still had the knife and hammer, deputies said.

Police found a man, identified as Kerns, near W.Va. 9 and Mercer Street, about 100 feet from Sheetz, deputies said.

The man had a large knife, a construction-type hammer, a 12-pack of beer and eight packs of cigarettes, deputies said.

A customer at the convenience store provided a detailed description of the incident, including how she, a friend and the clerks were threatened by the robber, who she alleged told them, "This is a robbery, stay calm or I'm going to kill you," deputies said.

The customer followed the man, noticing he tried to ditch the robe and goggles after leaving the store, deputies said.

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