Owner charged after confronting robbery suspect

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) — A pawn shop owner says two of his stores were robbed within 48 hours, and now he’s out thousands of dollars in jewelry and cash and faces criminal charges for trying to confront the suspect.

Spencer Hill was arrested for shooting a warning shot as a suspect fled his Cash Money Pawn shop on Warwick Boulevard Friday. He was charged with discharging a firearm in a public place and reckless handling of a firearm.Anita Blanton on jewelry heists at pawn shop2

“I stepped out of my vehicle for approximately 20 seconds and turned around to come back into the store, and when I put my hand on it to open the door up, he had spotted the bag, grabbed it and then ran for his life as fast as he could,” Hill said. “I started running down the side walk in the direction he’s running and yelling to him stop, stop repeatedly.”

Police say when Hill opened fire that’s where he was wrong, warning shots or otherwise. At the time, it was believed that the suspect just got into the car waiting for him at the end of the street with just a sandwich in the bag, but Spencer says that’s not all. He says the bag contained $2,000 in jewelry and $40 in cash.

That suspect still hasn’t been caught. But imagine Hill’s shock when he received a call to say that his Chesapeake store was the next big hit before the weekend was over.

“My employee was walking by,” said Hill. “He lives nearby and he said ‘oh my God, somebody has broken into the store.’”

Spencer Hill, photo courtesy Newport News Police
Spencer Hill, photo courtesy Newport News Police

The surveillance video shows the masked man hopping over the showcases, smashing them and pulling out the jewelry. Hill says the man was in and out of the shop in about two minutes with thousands of dollars’ worth of jewelry. One worker estimated $20,000 worth of gold alone.

Spencer’s stores have extensive security systems, but that night there was a defect. He says he doesn’t know whether the incidents are related or even a case of revenge. He just doesn’t want anything else happening. He says aside from the financial aspect of his loss from these incidents, it’s all been emotionally and mentally trying for him and his family as well.

No arrests have been made in either case.

Hill is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction. Call the Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP if you have any information.

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