Sack & Save robbed; workers, customers tied up

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 11, 2001

[07/11/01] Two gun-waving Warren County men were arrested early Wednesday morning after a robbery at one of the city’s largest grocery stores left customers and employees tied up and money stolen.

The two men, from Vicksburg and Redwood, also are charged in a string of other robberies, including similar incidents at two other groceries and a restaurant in the city during the past year, Police Chief Mitchell Dent said.

He said Vicksburg Police officers carrying shotguns and wearing bulletproof vests responded to an alarm at Sack & Save, 2080 S. Frontage Road, at 12:05 Wednesday morning.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

Moments after police surrounded the building because phone calls to the store had gone unanswered, two suspects brandishing guns exited the front, Dent said.

“They were told to drop their weapons, but instead they pointed their guns in the direction of the officers,” Dent said.

One officer fired a shot at the suspects but neither man was hit, Dent said. He said after the shot was fired the two men began running toward the back of the building where their car was parked.

“Since we already had officers in the back and in the front they were trapped and they surrendered without further incident,” Dent said.

Dent said two men entered the 24-hour store carrying three handguns and possibly a shotgun and handcuffed some of the 12 customers and employees in the building. He said he did not know how many had been restrained.

The men attempted to leave the store with an undisclosed amount of money that was recovered at the time of their capture, Dent said.

“After the suspects were captured, our officers went into the store and began taking the handcuffs off of people,” Dent said.

Troy White, 22, 110 E. Deer Creek Road, Redwood, and Otis Banks, 21, 108 N. Locust St., were in the Warren County Jail Wednesday morning on four counts of armed robbery.

Interviews after the arrests led authorities to connect the two with three other armed robberies in the past 11 months.

The first was at County Market on Clay Street. Two men armed with a sawed-off shotgun and a semi-automatic weapon entered the grocery story shortly after midnight on Aug. 24 and took money from the safe before tying up employees and leaving.

On Jan. 13, two men with shotguns held up McAlister’s Deli on Clay Street, forcing employees onto the floor while the manager opened the safe.

Less than a week later, on Jan. 18, two men bearing sawed-off shotguns entered SuperValu Fresh Foods on Indiana Avenue shortly before closing and forced employees and customers to the floor while taking money from the store.

In addition to the four counts of armed robbery that each will face, both men could face kidnap charges because employees and customers were forcibly detained in each robbery, Dent said.

Dent said police recovered three pistols from the Sack & Save robbery, but no shotguns.

He said White and Banks are also suspected in robberies in Louisiana, Texas and Jackson.

“There are investigators from Jackson coming over to question them about some similar robberies they (may) have had over there,” Dent said.

White and Banks were set to be arraigned this afternoon in Vicksburg Municipal Court.

The chief credited policemen with the arrests.

“It is due to the hard work of the officers that these men were caught,” Dent said. “We knew these men were serious about what they were doing and that they had done it before.”

Officers involved in the arrest were Sgts. Tom Wilson and William Combs and Patrolmen Joe Shows, Ronald Dominque, Charles Carick, Johnny Edwards and Jason Woods.

The store manager at Sack & Save referred all questions to the corporate offices, but no one could be reached there for comment.