Restaurant robbed, suspect on the loose

Several law enforcement agencies scoured Catawba County on Tuesday searching for an armed robbery suspect.
Claremont Police Capt. Gary Bost said at about 2:15 p.m. Tuesday, a white male entered the New Panda Chinese restaurant on Centennial Boulevard with a black handgun requesting money from the register. Bost said the female restaurant owner gave the man money, and he then told the woman to go to the back of the store. Bost said the suspect left the restaurant in a late-1990 model Jeep Cherokee. Bost said the man left Claremont on N. Oxford Road driving toward Interstate 40 at a "high-rate of speed."
Other than the owner, Bost said three males and two children were in the restaurant at the time of the robbery. All occupants were employees or family members of the restaurant owner.
No arrests were made as of press time Tuesday.
Claremont Police are searching for a while male with a mustache in his 30s to 40s, ranging in height from 5 feet 6 inches to 5 feet 8 inches. At the time of the robbery, he was wearing a green ball cap, a gray T-shirt and light-colored blue jeans. His vehicle is described as a 1997-98 hunter green Jeep Cherokee with a square-body design.
Bost said the restaurant has been in Claremont for about eight months and was not robbed before Tuesday.
Anyone with information on the armed robbery or the whereabouts of the suspect is asked to call Claremont Police at (828) 459-9295.