Police ID shotgun robber

Police have identified the man who robbed a Conover tobacco store on Saturday with a sawed-off shotgun.

Conover Police issued a warrant for Freddy Soots, 32, of Whiteville, with robbery with a dangerous weapon on Tuesday and are searching for the suspect.

Police say Soots 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 a duffle bag and demanding money.

Soots 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. He 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 were able to identify Soots on Tuesday.

Soots 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.”