BY KEN LITTLE
A knife-wielding man who robbed the Tennessee Cash for Gold business Thursday remained at large this morning, Greeneville police said.
The robbery happened about 1:35 p.m. Thursday when the man walked into the business at 3507 E. Andrew Johnson Hwy.
An employee told police she was on the telephone with another business employee when she saw a man wearing a camouflage jacket walk by the front window, Officer David Shell said in a report.
The woman put the person she was speaking with on hold because she thought she had a customer coming in, the report said.
That wasn't the case.
"The white male walked into the business with a knife in his right hand and came to the side of the desk where she was sitting," the report said.
The man "mumbled something" and then pointed toward the drawer where the money is kept, the report said.
The employee handed a blue bank bag containing cash to the man, who looked inside to make sure there was money inside, the report said.
The man then turned back to the employee "and said something else" she didn't understand, the report said.
"[She] said 'what,' and then he said, 'phone,' and grabbed it from her and threw it on the ground and then stomped on it with his right foot."
The suspect "then walked real fast out the door and went back in front of the window and disappeared."
There were no injuries. An undisclosed amount of cash was taken from the business, police said.
When the man left, the employee called business owner Michelle Green "and told her what had happened," the report said.
Green called 911 from Kingsport, and the employee also called 911 after locking the door.
Greeneville police and sheriff's deputies arrived at the scene and fanned out in the surrounding neighborhood, which includes wooded thickets along with residential and commercial properties.
The Greeneville Police Department K-9 unit was deployed, but police were unsuccessful in locating the suspect.
Police Capt. Steve Hixson said Thursday it is not known if the man fled to a waiting car.
The robber is described by police as a white male in his late 20s or early 30s, about 6-feet-tall and of medium build. He weighs about 200 pounds.
He was wearing a waist-length camouflage hunting coat with a large hood he wore during the robbery, obscuring his face, and baggy-style jeans, Hixson said.
Anyone with information about the suspect or the robbery can contact the Greeneville Police Department at (423) 639-7111. Detective Robert Vereecke is lead investigator on the case.
The poor economy has prompted an increase in cash for gold and other related businesses in Greene County.
Hixson said that police keep an eye on such businesses while on patrol, but there is not necessarily a greater likelihood of those businesses being targeted by criminals.
"Every place is a concern for us. We do our best to keep a check on all the businesses inside the city," he said. "Unfortunately, this one did occur."