Man arrested for armed robberies

Police arrested a man they say could be responsible for a string of armed robberies throughout Catawba County.

Emanuel Marshall Whitted, 38, of Conover, was taken into custody Wednesday at the Catawba County Detention Center after being arrested in connection with an armed robbery in Hickory. Although Whitted currently faces only one armed robbery charge, police said Wednesday it's possible Whitted is responsible for several more similar crimes.

"We've had a couple more robberies that might be related (to Whitted's arrest)," said Hickory Police Maj. Clyde Deal.

Local law enforcement agencies are working together to determine if that's the case.

Whitted allegedly walked into the Fast Track Convenience store on Fairgrove Church Road Southeast about 9:30 p.m. with a knife in his hands. The clerk, who recently returned from the bathroom, unlocked the front door and, minutes later, Whitted allegedly walked inside. His face and head were partially concealed with a hooded sweatshirt and a baseball cap.

Deal said Whitted showed the clerk his knife and asked for money. The clerk complied before returning to the store's bathroom and locking herself inside, where she called police.

Whitted allegedly stole an undisclosed amount of money from the store and left the scene in a silver four-door Honda car with a busted rear windshield.

Hickory Police, with assistance from Conover Police, located the vehicle outside a residence in Conover. Officers found Whitted inside the residence, arrested him and charged him with one count of robbery with a dangerous weapon.

But Whitted could soon be facing more charges if officers determine the Fast Track Convenience store wasn't Whitted's first robbery.

Tuesday's armed robbery in Hickory bears several similarities to recent robberies throughout Catawba County, including incidents in Conover and Hickory.

A man walked into the Kangaroo Express on N.C. 16 North in Conover late Friday night, displayed a knife and demanded money from the clerk. Like the Hickory armed robbery, the perpetrator didn't threaten the clerk with physical harm, but displayed a weapon to encourage compliance.

The suspect stole an undisclosed sum of money from the store's cash register and left the store about a minute after he arrived.

Conover Police are working with Hickory Police Department to determine whether the Whitted is responsible for the Conover armed robbery, too.

"He's someone of interest, yes," said Conover Police Chief Steve Brewer.

No one was injured during the Hickory and Conover armed robberies.

Whitted's first court date was Wednesday. He is in Catawba County jail under a $25,000 bond.