by Amelia Holliday—Staff Reporter
HAZARD—A man alleged to have robbed a tobacco store in Hazard at knife point on Friday was arrested mere minutes after the incident occurred.
Hazard Police Chief Minor Allen said 31-year-old Michael R. Gannon allegedly used a knife to rob the Fast Lane Discount Tobacco store on Main Street in Hazard at 8:30 p.m. Officers arrived within minutes of the incident, though Gannon had already fled the scene.
“At that point in time they interviewed people, they did a neighborhood canvas and got information from people that they’d saw a guy run from the location into the apartment building there on Main Street,” Allen said.
Allen said witnesses in the Hall’s Mall apartment building told officers that a man fitting the description of the suspect from the store’s video surveillance footage had run to the upper floors of the building. Upon searching the complex, officers found an abandoned apartment.
“There was no door or anything, completely gutted,” Allen said. “They found a male subject meeting the description hiding behind some sheetrock that had been stacked up against the wall.”
Allen said Gannon was taken to the police station just before 9 p.m. for questioning and eventually voluntarily turned over the money taken in the robbery.
“We recovered almost $600 in cash taken from the store,” he said.
No one was injured in the incident, however, Allen said the weapon has yet to be recovered.
Gannon is facing one count of first-degree robbery and one count of tampering with physical evidence after trying to hide his outer clothes he had been wearing during the robbery while he hid in the apartment, Allen said.
“I don’t anticipate that there’ll be any additional charges at this time, but the investigation’s still ongoing,” he added.
Allen said cases such as this are not very common in the city. Only one other case of armed robbery has been reported this year at a gas station on East Main St.; the suspect was apprehended in May. Allen said he is grateful to a community that assists its police force so much in cases such as this.
“We really appreciate the cooperation that we received that night from the community that helped us make this arrest very, very quickly,” he said. “I’m very pleased with the way that officers have responded to these types of calls and the success we’ve had with them.”