By: Lacy Hilliard
The Johnson County Sheriffs Department responded to a call from the A to Z Market in Laurel Bloomery after 19-year-old Tabitha Price of Butler allegedly attempted to steal money from the cash register.
Sharon Anderson took ownership of the A to Z Market on August 29 and often works from open to close, doing all she can to help her new business succeed. It was Anderson who made the call to authorities and amazingly, it was also Anderson that stopped the alleged theft. I was in the back cooking and some really nice people from Damascus were here (in the restaurant section of the market) with their 102-year-old mother. I heard the bell ring and this girl went behind the counter and started punching the buttons on the register just as hard as she could, said Anderson. The girls actions were not immediately alarming to Anderson because she said that some regular and trusted customers of the previous owner would sometimes come in and ring up their own purchases. However, when Anderson realized that the girl was unable to operate the cash register, she knew something wasnt right. I walked up and asked if I could help her. She already had a drink in her hand and she said she wanted a pack of cigarettes. When I was finished ringing her up, she handed me her money but as soon as I opened the cash register, she reached over and grabbed a handful of twenties, Anderson said. What happened next was a bold move on the part of Anderson and cautionary tale to future would-be thieves. I reached over and grabbed her wrist as hard as I could and took my money back, said Anderson. When asked if she took into consideration that the alleged crook could be armed, Anderson didnt miss a beat, saying I looked at her and noticed her pockets were flat so I knew she wasnt.
After Anderson boldly recovered the contents of her cash register, a shocked Tabitha Price allegedly made her way to the getaway car, which was reportedly being driven by 38-year-old Becky Williams of Mountain City. She looked startled and she probably thought I was too old to do anything about it but I wasnt letting her get my money if I could help it, said Anderson. Anderson and A to Z employees made their way to the window at the front of the store and quickly obtained the license plate number of the car being driven by Williams. It was then that Anderson made the call to authorities.
The Johnson County Sheriffs Department responded by issuing a BOLO (be on the lookout) on the suspects car. Price and Williams were quickly spotted by Damascus police at the Citgo gas station and arrested. Tabitha Price is charged with robbery and Becky Williams is charged with conspiracy to commit a robbery. Both Price and Williams are being held at Washington County Jail pending extradition to Johnson County.
Sharon Anderson has responded to the incident by increasing security at her new business and has issued the following statement: I want my customers to know that I take every precaution to ensure their safety in the store.