Alabaster robbery leads to manhunt

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

The Alabaster Police Department is searching for a trio of suspects who allegedly robbed a local store at gunpoint on the evening of Aug. 26, said Alabaster Deputy Police Chief Curtis Rigney.

The robbery launched a several-hour manhunt involving the Alabaster, Helena, Calera, Pelham and Hoover police departments, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office and the Alabama State Troopers.

The robbery happened the evening of Aug. 26 when three suspects entered the Tienda La Rabaja store in the 1600 block of Kent Dairy Road, displayed weapons and stole $525 in U.S. currency, a cash register valued at $100 and a black wallet valued at $10.

After the robbery was reported to Alabaster police, the department issued a description of the suspects’ vehicle to surrounding agencies. A short time later, a Helena officer spotted the suspects’ vehicle and gave chase.

After the Helena officer lost contact with the suspects, the suspects’ vehicle was discovered abandoned near a heavily wooded area off Shelby County 52, Rigney said. After the agencies searched the area for several hours, they were unable to locate the suspects.

As of Aug. 28, no arrests had been made, and the case was still under investigation, Rigney said.

Shelby County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Ken Burchfield said his department is working with Alabaster on the investigation, as the Alabaster crime could be connected with an Aug. 25 shooting at the Lakes of Inverness apartment complex off U.S. 280.

During the Aug. 25 incident, which happened at about 10:50 p.m., sheriff’s deputies responded to a report of two adults who were reportedly shot as they walked from the parking lot to an apartment in the 6600 block of Whitetail Drive, in the Lakes of Inverness apartments.

Both victims, a husband and wife, were treated at the scene by Cahaba Valley Fire and Rescue paramedics and quickly transported to a local hospital. Their injuries were life-threatening but both are expected to survive, deputies said.

Anyone with information related to the crimes is encouraged to call the Alabaster Police Department at 663-7401 or the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office at 669-4181.