Small town of Tyrone experiencing something unfamiliar: a crime - CBS46 News

Small town of Tyrone experiencing something unfamiliar: a crime wave

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Source: WGCL Source: WGCL
TYRONE, GA (CBS46) -

In the past few weeks, something highly unusual has been happening in the small town of Tyrone. Local stores have been hit by armed robbers five times.

Tyrone, which sits in northwest Fayette County, 28 miles south of Atlanta, has a population of roughly 7,100. Crime is suddenly the talk of the town.

“It’s never really happened much around here, said Brian Nash, a 30-year resident. "Little petty stuff, but never nothing major.”

Things began to change in late November. In the span of a week, armed robbers struck a Dollar General twice. A Shell gas station was struck once. And an O'Reilly Auto Parts store was struck twice, the latest case happening at about 9 a.m. Monday.

“I heard a guy yelling ‘Help, help help!’” said Michael McKinney, who happened to pull into a parking space at a nearby gas station with his three kids in his SUV.

McKinney quickly realized a masked gunman had just jumped into a getaway car. McKinney moved his SUV to try to block the robber from leaving. The robber rammed McKinney's SUV. That's when the two men locked eyes.

“When I seen him facing this way and I seen him reaching for something, I automatically told my kids, ‘Get down,’ McKinney said.

It’s a good thing they did. The bullet narrowly missed his daughter.

“That bullet went through the window right through her car seat, right where her head would’ve been," said McKinney. "If she hadn’t listened to me, my 3-year-old wouldn’t be here right now.”

“It blows my mind,” said Tyrone resident Marcus Abner. "it's scary."

“Everybody’s keeping their eyes open,” agreed Nash, adding that locals are arming themselves for protection. "They (the robbers) could be anywhere, really.”

All five recent robberies happened within a mile of the police station. One suspect in custody in Coweta County. Now detectives are turning their attention toward finding the others.

The robber in the most recent O'Reilly robbery -- and possibly the other -- has a distinguishing feature. He's tall -- possibly 6'5" or taller.

Anyone with information that might be helpful to detectives should call the Tyrone Police Department at 770-487-4732.

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