Max Mart South owner robbed

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 29, 2001

Max Mart South owner Edna Newton was robbed at her brother-in-law's home last Friday night, after leaving the Max Mart located on South Conecuh Street. Approximately $3,470 in cash and checks were stolen.

Newton left the store after closing to take the bank bag to her brother-in-law, John Lide. According to Newton, she routinely takes the bank bag to Lide each night and he makes the deposit at the bank the next morning.

Newton said she never stops if anyone is around when she goes to drop off the bag and she did not notice anyone around Friday night. She stopped her car and got out, reached in and got the bag and locked her doors. As she turned around, she saw a black male running toward her and she clutched the bag as tightly as possible and held it to her chest and began screaming.

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Newton said a struggle for the bag ensued and the suspect was able to pry it from her hands. As he did so, two of Newton's fingernails caught on the zipper of the bag and the nails were ripped off. Newton said the force of the bag slipping from her grip so quickly caused the suspect to accidentally hit her in the chin and knock her into the mailbox.

"I believe it was somebody who knew me and didn't want to hurt me," Newton said, "because he never yelled at me to shut up and he never hit me while I was screaming."

Newton said she believes the suspect is a regular customer at the Max Mart who knew her routine of taking the money to her brother-in-law. She also said she believes there was someone helping the suspect because she was not on schedule when she left the Max Mart Friday night.

"Someone had to have known and been watching because they knew where I went," Newton said. "I was an hour and a half late that night, so somebody had to have been watching the store and alerted him when I left. He couldn't have been waiting for an hour and a half because my sister and brother-in-law have dogs that would have barked."

Newton said that when she first started screaming, her sister thought it was a cat, but that when she opened the bedroom door and heard it again, she knew it was Newton.

Officer Gary Martin, who lives across the street from the Lides, came out of his house after hearing Newton's screams. Martin met Lide in the front yard and began checking Newton out because she was bleeding. Newton said she then told the men which way the suspect ran and they left in Martin's truck to pursue him.

The men located the house where they believed the suspect went and waited for Greenville police to arrive. The police then took into custody a black male whom they questioned, but Newton could not identify the man as her assailant.

"He was wearing a big fluffy jacket and the guy who robbed me was wearing a thin jacket, so I don't think he was the assailant," Newton said. "Besides, the guy they showed me at the police department had been drinking. The man who robbed me had not been drinking because there was no smell of alcohol, and I know, I got up close and personal with him."

Greenville police are still investigating the incident and Captain Wink Fussell said they are looking for leads that could point them in the direction of who might have been responsible for the crime.

"The guy we talked to was cleared by Mrs. Newton," Fussell said. "We are now trying to pick up some leads on the street and find out if anybody knows anything about the robbery."

Fussell said that individuals should be very careful and not get into a routine so that criminals will know exactly where they are and what they are doing at certain times.

"People get into a set routine and we've got people that watch them," Fussell said. "Don't get into a routine. Vary your times and don't get into a routine where everybody knows what you do."

Newton also stressed the importance of not getting into a routine as she stated that she had let her guard back down since the Max Mart was robbed nearly a year ago.

"Don't ever get complacent and let your guard down," she said. "And don't ever go alone when handling money."

She also said that people should lock their doors when they leave home and always keep their vehicles locked. No suspect has been named in the investigation and members of the Greenville Police Department are seeking information about the crime. Persons having any information about this or other crimes should call 382-7461.