The Harford County Sheriff's Office is looking for a man who robbed a Bel Air area gas station and convenience store at gunpoint Friday morning. A robbery in Creswell Friday afternoon that led to a brief chase and a serious crash on Route 40 in Joppa may be related, according to the Harford County Sheriff's Office.
The search for this morning's robber also led to a brief lockdown at a nearby high school and also kept the Sheriff's Office busy all day fending off rumors there had been a shooting at the school, a sheriff's spokesperson said.
The armed robbery at the Xtra Mart in the Campus Hills Shopping Center on heavily traveled Route 22 occurred about 8:05 a.m. when a white male, with a bandanna covering his face, entered the Xtra Mart and displayed a handgun and demanded the clerk go to the back room, according to a news release from the Sheriff's Office.
The robber took an undisclosed amount of money from the register and left the building, the Sheriff's Office said. He drove away form the scene in a white Ford SUV headed east on Route 22 toward Aberdeen. No injuries were reported.
The robber, who is described as having a medium build, was wearing all black clothing.
Sheriff's Office spokesman Eddie Hopkins confirmed that Harford Technical High School, which is about a mile from the holdup scene, was briefly placed on lockdown while police searched for the robber. The lockdown was also confirmed by Teri Kranefeld, spokesperson for Harford County Public Schools.
According to a phone message received by The Aegis from Harford Tech Principal Charles Hagan, the lockdown lasted about 10 minutes and was ordered on the advice of the school's resource officer, a deputy assigned to the school on a daily basis. Hagan's message said students were given information about the situation as soon as the lockdown cleared.
Hopkins later said the lockdown caused rumors to begin circulating there had been a shooting at the school and said the he spent much of the day assuring the media nothing of the sort had occurred.
Local and state police in Harford have been dealing with a rash of armed robberies of convenience stories, drug stores and banks dating back to last fall, several of which have not been solved.
A second armed robbery occurred Friday afternoon at a liquor store in the same general area as the first. That holdup was followed by a police chase that ended up with the suspected robber crashing their vehicle and suffering serious injuries.
Anyone with information regarding the Xtra Mart robbery who wishes to remain anonymous may report their information to the Sheriff's Office through http://www.harfordsheriff.org.
Tipsters also can text a tip to Metro Crime Stoppers: Text "CRIMES" (274637) Begin the message "MCS," then add the tip.
Qualifying tips submitted that lead to a conviction may be eligible for up to $2,000 in rewards.
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