Good Samaritans chase armed robber, help with arrest - WKRN News 2

Good Samaritans chase armed robber, help with arrest

Posted: Updated: April 3, 2013 10:14 PM
Renard Whitfield Renard Whitfield

A St. Louis man is in the Rutherford County jail accused of robbing a convenience store and leading authorities on a chase.

Renard Whitfield, 27, is charged with aggravated robbery.

According to a police report, Whitfield walked into a Mapco Express in the 2400 block of South Church Street in Murfreesboro around 9:30 a.m. Saturday.

The clerk, 26-year-old Jeremy Timbs, claims Whitfield handed him a note that said, "Give me all the money or I'm going to kill you."

Timbs complied and gave Whitfield $90.

"We were in the store scratching off some lottery tickets," said Frank Gillespie.

Gillespie and Erik Green are regulars at the convenience store. They had no idea the store was being robbed until they approached the counter.

"I walked up to the counter to cash in a ticket, and the clerk said, 'That guy just robbed me,'" Gillespie said.

Without thinking, the two friends immediately chased after the suspect.

"I don't know who's idea it was to start running," laughed Green, "but we was chasing after him. We chased him behind the Subway and the Burger King."

Despite their best efforts, Gillespie and Green couldn't keep up with the suspect, who seemed to disappear in a Taco Bell parking lot.

"I happened to look up and I saw a van backed into a parking place," Gillespie said. "I told Erik, 'That's got to be him.'"

"I always keep an ink pen in my pocket, so luckily I had it. I started writing his tag number down," added Green.

The pair could only watch as the suspect drove away, got on the interstate, and headed toward Nashville.

With information from Gillespie and Green, Rutherford County Sheriff's deputies were able to catch up to suspect on Interstate 24, near mile marker 70.

The pursuit continued into Davidson County, but ended when the suspect crashed near the Bell Road exit in south Nashville.

The suspect was later identified as Whitfield.

His van was taken as evidence, while he was arrested and charged, thanks to two men who chose not to be bystanders.

"(I) figured he might do it somewhere else, and somebody would've gotten hurt," Gillespie said.

"He could've hurt somebody or killed somebody down the road, so it's good that he's off the street," Green added.

Following Saturday's chase, neither Gillespie nor Green would recommend anyone chase after a suspected armed robber.

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