Pike County Sheriff Russell Thomas and investigators Bob Bradbury and Frank Wheeler stand with stolen merchandise recovered from recent area thefts. Severl local burglaries were solved when officers a

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 29, 1999

Sheriff’s Dept. nabs robbery suspect


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Dec. 28, 1999 11 PM

The Pike County Sheriff’s Department had a restless Christmas, but were been able to put an accused armed robber behind bars due to the short holiday.

Christopher Ray Bachelor, 17, of Lot 27 Royal Oak Trailer Park, Troy, is in the Pike County Jail under a $100,000 bond for first degree armed robbery. He confessed to robbing The Wagon Wheel, a store on Shellhorn Road in Pike County, at gunpoint, the morning of Dec. 23, said Pike County Sheriff Russell Thomas.

"This young man confessed to the crime and to another crime that same morning," Thomas said. "We are also working to resolve other burglaries that have occurred in recent weeks through this defendant," Thomas said.

According to the Sheriff’s Department, Bachelor robbed a home in the China Grove area the morning before the armed robbery at the Wagon Wheel. At the home, two guns were taken, including a .22 caliber pistol that was apparently used in the robbery of the Wagon Wheel..

"At approximately 7:15 a.m., this defendant pulled in to the Wagon Wheel in a white vehicle and entered the store wearing a blue and white bandana and some sort of clothing on his head," Thomas said. "He had his hands covered with white socks and demanded that the clerk turn over all the store’s cash to him."

The clerk declined the request and picked up the telephone to call the sheriff when the suspect reached across the counter and shot the telephone base with the pistol, Thomas said. The clerk opened the register and gave the suspect the cash drawer, which contained an estimated $320.

The suspect fled the store, but the clerk was unable to give a description of the vehicle he was driving.

Thomas said investigation at the scene left little doubt in his mind that the suspect was driving a car with a "doughnut" or temporary tire based on the tracks left in the parking lot. Tracks also indicated the car was a front-wheel drive vehicle.

With little else to go on, Thomas and investigators began working the area. Near the crime scene, Thomas said, investigators located a dirt road with tracks that matched the tracks left by the suspect’s car. After talking to witnesses along the road, deputies were told that at approximately 7:30 a.m., a white care traveled the road at a high rate of speed and indications were that it had an emergency tire.

Still, Thomas said, hopes were not high.

"We had tracked the car for about seven miles along dirt roads in the area and could tell it was headed toward Troy," Thomas said. "But this was all we had to go on other than the clothing of the suspect and that he was a white male."

The Sheriff’s Department called several tire service agencies in the area requesting that they be notified if a white vehicle with a doughnut tire in a particular position on the vehicle.

No reports came, but Monday, the case broke when someone called in with a tip on the burglary.

"We were fortunate in this case that we were notified with a good tip on this case," Thomas said. "We were able to find several people who gave us information we needed to make an arrest."

The suspect was apprehended and evidence of the crimes committed the morning of Dec. 23 was recovered along with evidence of other crimes. Eventually, Thomas said, Bachelor confessed to several crimes and led investigators to the points where various pieces of evidence were discarded, including the cash drawer from the Wagon Wheel.

"I would like to commend the work of the investigators and deputies in this case," Thomas said. "A lot of hours during the holiday weekend were spent working this case and that hard work paid off. It was a good effort on the part of the department personnel and was greatly helped by the cooperation of the community."