CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Officials have charged three thieves who they say may have robbed possibly 40 dollar stores in North and South Carolina since 2017.
According to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, officers charged 34-year-old Jonathan Gardin, 26-year-old Mandale Huntley and 33-year-old Sergio Patterson for their involvement in several armed robbery incidents.
On Saturday, officers were conducting a zone check at the Family Dollar, located on Valleydale Road, when they pulled into the parking lot and saw a man running from the business carrying cigarettes.
Officers chased the man on foot and were able to arrest him a few minutes later. Officers found a gun and additional evidence the man threw down during the foot chase.
Police determined that the man, who was later identified as Jonathan Gardin, had just robbed the store at gunpoint moments before they arrived.
A getaway vehicle was located nearby that was being driven by Mandale Huntley and officers were able to arrest him without incident. Gardin and Huntley were both taken to police headquarters where they were interviewed by robbery detectives.
In addition to this robbery, detectives determined that Gardin was involved in three other business robberies and Huntley was involved in one other business robbery.
Patterson was arrested days later and taken into the custody of the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office.
CMPD says they partnered with the FBI during the weekend and made arrests they consider very important to the community.
In a press conference Sunday, Sgt. Brian Scharf and FBI Supervisory Special Agent Jason Kaplan spoke about the men and their history of robberies in Charlotte.
“It’s been 17 months of no sleep because we don’t take these things lightly,” said Scharf.
CMPD says Gardin has “terrorized” dollar stores in the area for more than a year by coming into them with a mask on and holding employees at gunpoint. He’s charged with five robberies. Huntley was charged with two.
On Thursday, Gardin was charged with nine additional armed robbery cases and Huntley was charged with one additional case. Patterson was charged in two cases of armed robbery.
Since then, CMPD said Gardin was charged with 22 additional armed robbery cases.
Also on Friday, officials with the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office said Gardin and Patterson will also be charged in connection with three armed robberies that occurred at an Exxon, Family Dollar and QuikTrip in Lancaster County in June and July of 2018.
“These men are believed to be responsible for multiple armed robberies in North and South Carolina,” said Sheriff Barry Faile. “I tip my hat to the CMPD officers who caught Gardin and brought this string of robberies to an end. We have a strong partnership with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and regularly work investigations with them because of our common border. We also appreciate the help of the Federal Bureau of Investigation on these cases.”
Police estimate Gardin, Huntley and Patterson may have robbed about 40 stores, but say the number could be more or less than that.
CMPD says its Armed Robbery Unit is continuing its investigation and additional charges are forthcoming.
“I think that Mecklenburg County residents should be proud of the resources that are put in by the FBI and by CMPD to put some extremely qualified detectives,” said Kaplan.
Anyone with information about an armed robbery incident is asked to call 911 or provide information anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 704-336-1600.