Warrant: Criminals use church parking lot to stash getaway car during armed robberies

Police: Church parking lot used to stash getaway cars

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Police are looking for people they say committed several armed robberies outside of a Family Dollar this fall. And according to a warrant, police say these people used a church parking lot several times to stash their getaway cars.

Mission City Church is next door the Family Dollar on Valleydale Road. The pastor Kyle Dillard, didn’t know that the parking lot was being used like that but said he wasn’t shocked.

“Not surprised. I’m saddened by it but I’m not surprised,” Dillard said.

But Dillard said the crime in the area, including these armed robberies, only help fuel his church’s mission.

“The best time for you to park in our church parking lot is Sunday morning. And then run across the church, and we’ll give you what you need," Dillard said. “We would love to help you.”

Dillard said they’ve seen crime in the area. It’s even affected the church itself. Pastor Dillard said that twice this year people broke in through doors, once to steal computers but the other time they just took food.

Because of the crime problem, the church works with the homeless people in the area and helps to get them jobs. He says their doors are always open to anyone who needs help and wants to change.

“What will change the community, is changing hearts," he said. “I think it just represents what we know about this community, which is why we came. Which is why we’re mission city church. What we really want to do is help the community understand that real life is not taking but giving.”

Police are looking for one suspect in an armed robbery case which happened outside the Family Dollar on Oct. 18 and another suspect in an assault case which happened on Sept. 10.

According to a search warrant, police made one arrest after an attempted armed robbery at the Family Dollar on Nov. 1.

The warrant says two undercover cops were in the area when they heard multiple shots fired at the business. Two men started running towards a car with the ignition on which was parked in the church parking lot but when they saw police, ran into the woods. One of the men was arrested at the scene. The search warrant was for the car parked in the lot, which police believe was stolen.

“The Family Dollar located nearby has been robbed numerous times in the past and suspects have used the church parking lot to park their getaway vehicles,” This search warrant said.

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