Man robs Smokes Unlimited with shotgun

A man robbed a Conover tobacco store on Saturday after holding the store clerk and her husband at gunpoint with a sawed-off shotgun.

Police say a man carrying a duffle bag walked into the Smokes Unlimited Inc. tobacco store in Conover at about 5:42 p.m. Saturday before taking a sawed-off shotgun out of the bag and demanding money.

The suspect ordered store clerk Brenda Morris and her husband, Jim, against the wall and told them “not to do anything stupid,” said Smokes Unlimited Manager Ann Davis. The suspect then took the money, put the shotgun back in his bag and walked out the door, Davis said.

Morris and her husband were the only people in the store and gave the suspect an undetermined amount of money, said Conover Police Chief Steve Brewer.

Investigators took surveillance video from the scene, and Brewer said “we have some good leads and are working on getting a warrant for an arrest at this time.”

The suspect is a tall and skinny white male, Davis said.

Morris has not been to work since the incident, and Davis said it really frightened her employee.

“Once he’s behind bars, I think that will take a little pressure off her,” Davis said. “It took away her security. I’ve been here eight years myself, and I’ve never even felt anything like that.”

Davis said the suspect in the surveillance video has never been inside Smokes Unlimited before.

After talking with other store owners in the area, Davis said “nothing like this” had ever happened before.

“It’s a shock, and we’re all kind of still nervous because he’s not caught,” Davis said. “We’re trying to hold it together and keep our customers happy.”