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Suspect in string of robberies arrested
Police suspect Savannah man was involved in eight regional incidents
web 0629 Robert Cole
Robert Cole - photo by Photo provided.

Dublin police have apprehended a Savannah resident believed to be responsible for eight robberies between Athens and Orange Park, Fla., including one in Midway and one in Richmond Hill, according to the Richmond Hill Police Department.

Robert Cole, 26, was arrested and charged with armed robbery in connection with a gas station holdup Monday in Dublin, according to the Dublin Police Department.

“(The suspect) went in, robbed the place and the clerk came out screaming,” said RHPD Detective Doug Sahlberg, who has been investigating the robbery spree. “A witness saw his vehicle and tag number. He actually got picked up in Treutlen County, which is a county over, and was taken into custody.”

Sahlberg said Cole is suspected in eight robberies in the past three weeks, including the June 7 robbery of the Richmond Hill Subway and the June 16 robbery of the Midway El Cheapo. It was estimated that Cole took around $260 from the El Cheapo, according to A. Patel, the service station’s owner.

The robbery in Midway was the fifth in Cole’s alleged spree. The first reportedly was June 6 in Jacksonville, Fla., and after stopping in Richmond Hill on June 7, Cole is suspected of robbing a gas station in Clay County, Fla., on June 11 and the Subway in Berwick Plaza on Highway 17 in Savannah on June 15. He also is suspected in gas station robberies in Orange Park, Fla., on June 18; Athens on Sunday; and Dublin on Monday.

Richmond Hill police have requested extradition, but Sahlberg said he is unsure when Cole will be turned over to local authorities.

“He has eight different jurisdictions in two states,” Sahlberg said. “I don’t know the order in what jurisdictions that he’s going to.”

The detective added that Cole must have a first appearance in every jurisdiction and, depending on if he hires an attorney or uses public defenders, it could take a while.

“In each jurisdiction, he’d have to apply for a public defender, although if the public defender is in more than one circuit, he could use the same public defender,” Sahlberg said. “For example, Liberty County and Richmond Hill are in the same circuit, but Chatham is not.”

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