Middle Georgia Cold Cases: Red Masked Robber

CENTERVILLE, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – It’s been nearly a year and a half since a Centerville gas station clerk was shot in the face during a robbery.

Investigators say Roy Patel did everything right. Detectives say they don’t know who did it, and they don’t have very many clues.

Police say everyone loved Patel.

“The community affectionately talked about Mr. Roy,” Capt. Roger Hayes said about Patel in a news conference in 2014.

The clerk worked at the Pure gas station on Houston Lake Boulevard. In February 2014, he was helping customers when a masked man came into the store demanding money.

“Our patrol guys get there on the scene. Nobody is in the store. They go in, clear the store, and find Mr. Patel down behind the counter,” Sgt. Chuck Hadden says. 

He says Patel did everything right.

“Mr. Patel complied with the demands, didn’t give him hard time. He gave him the money out of two separate drawers. The subject shot Mr. Patel on the way out the door,” Hadden says. 

No getaway vehicle. No urgency. Investigators say the man walked right out the store and disappeared, and they don’t have any clues. 

“There’s so little evidence on just the video recovered. It’s really all we have,” Hadden says.

Officers say this case is unusual and it’s hard tracking down the suspect. They say the suspect appears in the security video to be wearing commonly gloves, a hat, mask even a commonly used gun. There was one feature that pointed them in right direction however. 

“The shooter did present the pistol and fire the pistol with his left hand, which for all intents and purposes, you’d believe he was left-handed,” Hadden says. 

Police sent shell casings to crime labs trying to find out what kind of weapon was used and a possible owner. Hadden says most like the gun that was used was a Glock 27 .40 caliber pistol.

“We’ve compared that to dozens and dozens of suspects. We’ve just searched for people with general traits like that and nothing has come up to match,” Hadden says. 

The suspect in the photo is wearing a red bandana or scarf covering his face and dark clothing. Haden says he can’t confirm the suspect’s race. 

“We can’t rule out that it was a white female with black paint on her face or white male with black paint on his 
face. We can’t necessarily say absolutely this not that because of x-y-z,” Hadden says. 

He adds he and the department haven’t had any luck so far. 

“We did get a couple of hits. We really hoped our phones would be ringing off the hook, but they never did. We got a couple of leads, we followed them through, and they turned out to be nothing,” Hadden says. ”

While he continues to wait for justice, he isn’t giving up — and wants someone to pay for shooting the beloved store clerk. 

Roy Patel did survive the shooting. He had to have extensive plastic surgery to his face. Crimestoppers and the Centerville Police Department still have a $5000 reward for anyone who can help bring the suspect to jail. 

If you have any information call the Centerville Police Department at 478-953-4222.

Categories: Houston County, Local News, Special Report

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