2nd suspect arrested in connection with July armed robbery of Southern Pines Zales Jewelers

Local News

SOUTHERN PINES, N.C. (WNCN) – A second suspect has been arrested in connection with the July robbery of a Zales Jewelers in Southern Pines, according to a news release.

Southern Pines police, aided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Horry County and South Carolina officers, arrested 42-year-old Christopher Demarcus Bethea, of Hartsville, South Carolina, on Saturday.

Bethea is charged with robbery with a firearm and two counts of second-degree kidnapping. He is in custody in Greensboro under a $585,000 bond, Southern Pines police said.

An armed robbery was reported at the Zales Jewelers located at 10205 Highway 15/501 at about 5:40 p.m. on July 28. A man entered the store, pointed a firearm at one of the two employees working, and demanded the contents of the ring counter be placed in a bag, the release said.

The man then ordered the two employees to move to a bathroom and had them secure themselves with nylon ties. He then fled the store to a vehicle waiting for him, police said.

Gilbert Smith, 57, of Fayetteville, was arrested two days later on July 30. He was charged with robbery with a firearm and possession of stolen property, the release said.

At the time of his arrest, Smith had been found with property stolen from the store. The rest of the stolen property, minus two rings, was found during a search of Smith’s home, police said.

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