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FORT MILL, SC (WBTV) -
Police in Cornelius and deputies in Fort Mill are working to determine if two robberies at Harris Teeter stores in the Charlotte region are connected.
The first robbery took place just before 10 p.m. on May 21st inside a Harris Teeter at 1750 W. Highway 160 in Fort Mill.
According to the York County Sheriff's Office, two men armed with handguns entered the store, stole cash and assaulted several employees.
On July 31, The York County Sheriff's Office released surveillance video showing the suspects as they forced their way into the business, armed with handguns, at one point firing a shot and demanding money.
The suspects threatened store workers and ultimately robbed the store of money, then fleeing the business on foot.
WBTV spoke with one of the cashiers who was inside the store during the robbery. He said the first gunman fired his gun inside the store.
"He fired it into the air and told none of us to move and said he had just gotten out of the pen and he'd pop our *****, is basically what he said."
The witness does not want to be identified. He said the first gunman forced a store manager into the vault to get cash while a second gunman targeted a female cashier.
"He was shoving her really hard and pushing her into the cash register to get her to open it, but she couldn't because she was in the middle of a transaction. I remember just feeling really scared for her and wanting to do something, but I couldn't. I was just frozen," he said.
According to the witness, the first gunman fired a second shot upon leaving the vault, and one of the men roughed up a pregnant employee who was also near a cash register.
Customers inside the store at the time of the robbery took cover and hid. The two men finally took off in what may have been a gray Lincoln town car or similar vehicle. They were last seen near Interstate 77 in Fort Mill.
Surveillance photos show both robbers are slender, black males wearing latex gloves and dark bandanas on their faces.
About two hours after the first robbery, 40 miles up the Interstate, a gunman stormed into the Harris Teeter at 19815 North Cove Road in Cornelius.
The suspect is described as a skinny, black male wearing a dark colored coat, red and white tennis shoes, black hat, and a black bandana over his face. He was carrying a small, dark hand gun. Witnesses say he left the store and fled towards Jetton Road.
Anyone with information is asked to call Cornelius Police detectives at 704-892-7773 or the York County Sheriff's Office at 803-628-3059.
Harris Teeter is offering reward money for information that leads to an arrest.