Armed robbery suspect in custody
Blount County Sheriff James Berrong and Alcoa Police Department Chief Ken Burge announced that the Sheriff’s Office, in conjunction with the Alcoa Police Department, arrested a man late Tuesday in connection with the armed robberies that occurred at the Foothills Food Mart on Morganton Road and the Kenjo BP on Alcoa Highway.
Walter Stephen Lawson, Jr., age 25, of Beatrice Circle, Rockford, is being held at the Blount County Detention Facility on a charge of aggravated robbery on bonds totaling $101,000. His Blount County General Sessions Court hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on October 9. Lawson is also being held on outstanding warrants for previous burglary and theft charges.
The Sheriff’s Office and the Alcoa Police Department followed up on numerous leads that began coming in after video from the Foothills Food Mart robbery was released to the public on Monday. The investigation led officers to Lawson late Tuesday night, when he confessed that he had robbed not only the Foothills Food Mart Sunday night but also the Kenjo BP station on Alcoa Highway September 24. Alcoa Police Department is questioning Lawson in connection with other unsolved armed robberies in Alcoa.
The Sheriff’s Office responded to the Foothills Food Mart at around 8:45 Sunday evening. The store clerk said that a man came into the store and placed a lighter on the counter to purchase. When the clerk opened the cash register drawer, the man brandished a knife, grabbed the cash drawer, and took an undisclosed amount of money from the register. He then walked out the front door and headed east on foot down Morganton Road toward the Foothills Mall.
Alcoa Police Department will be charging Lawson with aggravated robbery later today. The investigation into that case is ongoing.