December 5, 2011

Ott’s Grocery robbed at gunpoint

Police seeking information on culprit

By Nita Johnson
Staff Writer

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — The red eyes and strained facial expressions of two female clerks held at gunpoint depicted the terror of a robbery occurring just minutes earlier.

The two clerks, whose names are being withheld, said business was slow at Ott’s Grocery, five miles west of London at the intersection of Hawk Creek Road and Russell Dyche Memorial Highway (west Ky. 80), just before 7 p.m. when a man entered the store with a handgun and demanded cash.

“I didn’t know what to do at first,” said one clerk. “Then I emptied this cash register and (the other clerk) emptied the other one.”

The suspect, described as a white male, between 5 foot-8 inches and 6 feet tall, and wearing a dark colored hoodie, entered the store alone, and the clerks said they did not see a vehicle drive up the incline from the main roadway into the parking lot. After grabbing the undisclosed amount of money, the man fled on foot.

Law enforcement swarmed the scene just minutes later and Kentucky State Police Trooper Jason McCowan arrived to help with his tracking dog, Rex. However, the robber was not located in the area.

Store owner Rick Ott was quick to arrive at the family-owned store and calm the two clerks. The store was shut down and police tape stretched across the front of the store and along the gas pumps after the robbery while police conducted their investigation.

“This is the first time we’ve been robbed in 137 years,” Ott said.

Laurel Sheriff’s Detective Sgt. Tommy Johnson is continuing the investigation. Anyone with information about the identity of the robber is urged to contact the Laurel County Sheriff’s Office at (606) 864-6600.

Assisting at the scene were Sheriff John Root, Chief Deputy Eddy Sizemore, Sgt. Greg Poynter, Detective Daryl Zanet, Detective Charlie Loomis, Deputy William Bo Harris, Deputy Jason Back, Deputy Gilbert Acciardo, District 1 Constable Tim May, Kentucky State Police Trooper Mike King, Trooper Chris Roberts, Trooper Jeff Centers and Trooper Jason McCowan and tracking dog, Rex.