Cedartown police Saturday were still investigating the incident, which occurred around 9 p.m. Thursday at the department store at 550 N. Main St., said Cedartown Assistant Police Chief Jamie Newsome.
According to Newsome:
Kelly Jack Mayo, 45, of Fort Payne, Ala., is charged with felony armed robbery, felony kidnapping, two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of false imprisonment.
Newsome said the Cedartown police are communicating with Alabama law enforcement agencies. Mayo is a suspect in a similar armed robbery of another Fred’s store in Alabama recently, he said.
Newsome confirmed Saturday that Mayo is a former Fred’s chain store employee from Alabama.
Mayo reportedly entered the Cedartown Fred’s store right before closing. Apparently, the store was empty of customers.
There were two employees inside the store at the time, Newsome said. Mayo reportedly tied up the cashier and left her by herself as he proceeded to continue his robbery attempt. The woman was able to free herself from her binds and called 911.
“Three Cedartown police officers responded, followed immediately by two county police,” Newsome said. “They secured the building outside before he could leave.”
Upon realizing that his escape was blocked by police, Mayo reportedly took one of the two store employees hostage at gunpoint. Mayo then forced the woman out the back door, which was being watched by two law enforcement officers. The hostage had her vehicle parked behind the building.
“He then used her as a human shield,” Newsome said. “He put her behind the wheel and forced her to drive at gunpoint.”
Officers witnessed the employee’s vehicle pull out headed toward a residential area behind the shopping center.
Newsome said that the Cedartown police shift supervisor on duty decided to try and resolve the situation immediately, rather than risking allowing Mayo to escape with the hostage.
“The most important thing was the safety of the hostage,” Newsome said. “We couldn’t do anything to protect her if they got out of our sight.”
Mayo’s vehicle was rammed by a police cruiser to prevent his escape, Newsome said.
“Police officers were in position, and once his car was disabled he was swarmed by our officers, and subdued,” Newsome said. “He was taken into custody without any shots being fired.”
The hostage was released without injury.
A handgun was recovered at the time of Mayo’s arrest. Police withheld details about the type of gun involved, citing the ongoing investigation and possibility of liking Mayo to other criminal incidents.
Mayo remained in custody Saturday at the Polk County Jail.
Rome News Tribune Staff Writer Jeremy Stewart and Cedartown Standard Editor and Publisher Lowell Vickers contributed to this story.
For an earlier story, see Police: Armed robber took hostage from Cedartown store