Siblings arrested in 2 store robberies
Police say man pointed gun at sister's head, pretended to take her hostage
A man pointed a gun at his sister's head, pretending to take her hostage during one of two convenience store robberies overnight, according to Jacksonville police.
Investigators said Charles and Victoria Smith, 38 and 36, robbed a Kangaroo store at 10401 Normandy Blvd. on the Westside just before midnight Monday, and then robbed a Hess gas station at 8079 Ramona Blvd. minutes later.
According to a police report, one of the suspects pointed a gun at the Hess clerk's neck and said, "Give me all you got." The clerk replied, "I'll give you all I got, just don't shoot me," according to the report.
The clerk estimated the cash in the register to be $100, according to the report.
A customer at the Hess told police he saw the two suspects exit their car together, walk in together, and then leave with the man pointing a gun at the woman's head. According to police, Victoria acted like she was getting carried away against her will by her brother. Investigators say that was just a ploy.
The customer, 31-year-old Jason Kuchta, said he had pulled into the Hess gas station to send a text message just before midnight, and suddenly he was witnessing a violent crime.
"Guy came out with a gun yelling at a girl, with a gun to her head, you know, telling her to get in the truck," Kuchta said.
Kuchta said he watched the masked man shove the woman into a truck and drive away.
He said he knew something didn't look right, so he followed the suspects' 1997 green Ford Ranger until he lost them at a red light.
"When the guy came out screaming with gun at the girl's head, I was like, 'Oh, I need to do something,'" Kuchta said. "I was a little amped up. Other than that, I wasn't scared."
He called 911 and gave them a description of the pickup truck.
"I knew they just robbed a store," Kuchta said. "No telling what he's going to do to the girl. He could do anything, you know."
When officers caught up with Charles Smith and pulled him over in his pickup truck, they realized the woman he led away at gunpoint was actually his sister, according to police. Investigators said she was an accomplice.
The siblings made their first appearance in court Monday on armed robbery charges. They were being held in the Duval County jail without bail.
Their next court appearance is scheduled for Sept. 11.
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