UPDATE: Two More Arrests in Parking Lot Armed Robbery

By: Randy Yohe, WSAZ News Staff Email
By: Randy Yohe, WSAZ News Staff Email

UPDATE 2/9/12 @ 7:30 a.m.
CABELL COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) ---Two more people have been arrested in connection with what State Police say was a drug deal turned armed robbery.

It happened Tuesday night inside a car on the parking lot of the Walmart along Route 60 in Huntington.

Troopers arrested Jessica Sowards, 22, and Christopher McNeely, 26, early Thursday morning.

Sowards and McNeely are being charged with being accessories after the fact because they were inside the car and had knowledge of the robbery.

Troopers have already charged Manuel Anderson, 32, of Huntington, with first-degree armed robbery in the case.

They say Anderson pulled a gun on Brian Warden, taking $4,700 in cash.

Warden was able to escape.

Anderson was arrested a short time later at a nearby motel.

UPDATE 2/8/12 @ 6:30 p.m.
CABELL COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- An armed robbery in a Walmart parking lot has many concerned about dangers hitting so close to home.

The late-night Tuesday incident left one man behind bars and two others on the run.

Manuel Anderson is charged with first-degree armed robbery.

State Police say he robbed Brian Warden in the parking lot of Walmart along U.S. 60 about 11 p.m. Tuesday, holding the victim at gunpoint.

Warden gave Anderson his money -- $4,700 in cash -- and was able to escape.

A K-9 unit was able to track down Anderson to the Huntington Inn Motel, along with the gun. Anderson was arraigned Wednesday and is being held on $150,000 bond.

State police say the crime was drug related, and there's a disturbing trend in the drug game. Police say it is a criminal trend that puts shoppers, customers -- the overall general public -- in danger.

Police say this armed robbery is a prime example of drug dealers transacting their business not at home -- but in busy public parking lots.
It's a danger that could put just about anyone in a cross fire.

Police say Anderson and two others came to the Walmart parking lot where Warden says he had nearly $5,000 to buy some pills and party. But instead, police say Anderson robbed him at gunpoint.

And despite all the surveillance cameras and security there, police say parking lots are prime drug deal meeting places.

“They go to shopping center parking lots, parking lots at hotels and hospitals, things of that nature -- why?" State Police Sgt. R.D. Perry said. "It's just out in the open; a lot of these people will hide in plain sight. They realize that if we catch them in their homes with drug buys, we can take their homes and vehicles as forfeitures.”

The folks at Walmart tell us they stay vigilant with security and cooperate completely with all investigations.

Still, customers tell us have fears about getting caught in the middle of a drug crime.

Here are some of the comments from customers who spoke with us:

“I live just over the hill and I come here all the time at night, and it is scary."

"I won't shop here at night anymore."

"I’m not scared in the daytime, maybe at night."

"I think the police need to make more patrols.“

Perry says, "At this time, we're trying to increase patrols in those areas so we can safeguard the public.”

Police have impounded the car used in the robbery, so avoiding forfeiture may be a moot point. They ask the public to keep awake and aware of their surroundings when heading in and out of where they're parking.

As mentioned, there were two other people in the car with Anderson at the time of the robbery. State police have not been able to track them down yet.

Investigators talked about the sketchy nature of the whole incident. They also pointed out that Warden, the victim in this case, had been arrested on a grand larceny warrant in Kanawha County. He was out on bond.

UPDATE 2/8/12 @ 12 p.m.
CABELL COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The man troopers say robbed another man in a Walmart parking lot was in court Wednesday morning.

Manuel Anderson, 32, of Huntington is being charged with first-degree armed robbery and being a person prohibited from possessing firearm.

According to court documents, about 11 p.m. troopers responded to an armed robbery call at the Walmart on Route 60. When troopers arrived they spoke with the victim, Brian Warden. He told troopers that he got into a silver Chevy HHR with Anderson, another man and a female driver.

Warden told troopers that Anderson then pointed a silver revolver at him and demanded all of his money. Warden gave Anderson $4,700 and then jumped from the moving car, fearing for his life, according to the criminal complaint.

Troopers then discovered the Chevy HHR abandoned at health fitness center on Route 60. According to the criminal complaint, K-9 Gus with the Huntington Police Department was able to track the suspect to the Huntington Inn Motel. Anderson was located in room 104 inside the motel.

According to the criminal complaint, a silver handgun was found with Anderson at the motel. He was arrested and charged in connection with the robbery.

The other two suspects were unable to be located.

Trooper W.G. Hash with the West Virginia State Police tells WSAZ.com that the incident is drug-related.

Anderson was arraigned on the charges in Cabell County Magistrate Court Wednesday morning.

Anderson is being held in the Western Regional Jail in lieu of $150,000 bail.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.

UPDATE 2/8/12 @ 7:21 a.m.
CABELL COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Troopers have arrested a suspect in an armed robbery late Tuesday night.

The West Virginia State Police say that Emanuel Anderson and Brian Warden were in the backseat of a silver Chevrolet when Anderson pulled a gun and demanded cash.

According to troopers, Warden handed over $4,700 in cash, which he said was grant money for his college tuition. Troopers say Warden jumped out of the car in the Walmart parking lot on Rt. 60 near Huntington and dialed 911.

Troopers, along with Huntington Police, the Cabell County Sheriff's Department and a K-9 unit from Barboursville located the vehicle a short distance away. The K-9 unit was able to trace the scent to the Huntington Inn, about a mile away from Walmart.

Anderson was in a hotel room, as was the gun police say was used in the robbery. Police say two other people in the car were missing, as was the cash.

Trooper Hash, with the West Virginia State Police, says it appears the situation is drug related. Police are searching for the driver of the car, who is believed to go by "Boop," as well as a woman who was in the vehicle.

Warden, the victim, has a warrant out for his arrest from an unrelated incident in Kanawha County.

Anderson has been charged with armed robbery and possession of a firearm by a felon. He is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday morning.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.

UPDATE 2/7/2012 @ 11:55 p.m.
CABELL COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- State Police tell WSAZ.com the victim of a robbery in the Route 60 Walmart parking lot was thrown out of a moving vehicle, and robbed of nearly $5,000 in cash.

We have a crew on the scene.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.

ORIGINAL STORY 2/7/2012 @ 11:30 p.m.
CABELL COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A person was the victim of an armed robbery late Tuesday night in the parking lot of the Walmart off of U.S. 60, just east of Huntington, Cabell County 911 dispatchers say.

It was reported just after 11 p.m. Tuesday.

The person was not hurt, but police continue to interview the individual. It was not disclosed what sort of weapon was involved.

Police are looking for a suspect who fled in a vehicle.

We have a crew headed to the scene. Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.

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