Alcoa store clerk helps police catch robbery suspect

Surveillance video of robbery at Dollar General on Hall Road. (Alcoa Police Dept.)

ALCOA, Tenn. (WATE) – An East Tennessee store clerk quickly shifted from victim to detective, helping police catch an armed robbery suspect at the Dollar General off North Hall road Sunday morning.

“In a situation like that,” said Detective Kris Sanders with the Alcoa Police Department, “time is of the essence.”

The clerk was manning the store herself when a thief walked in, locked the door behind her, and proceeded toward the register, pointing a knife at the clerk and demanding cash.

The clerk complied at first, but didn’t let the would-be robber get away with the crime.

Tempress Boone (source: Blount County Detention Center)

“She was observant,” Sanders said. “She was able to give a very good clothing description. She notified law enforcement upon our arrival that she thought she recognized the female’s voice from a customer that had been in the store – repeatedly had come in the store several times, and she was able to get a vehicle description for us, which we were able to get to our dispatch and they were able to broadcast to all the patrol units in the county.”

The clerk jumped into action and alerted police within seconds, describing the robber as a black female who would often frequent the store. She also detailed the make of the getaway car, pieces of information that helped police intercept the vehicle and arrest the woman.

It was at that time, police noticed a young child in the backseat and were able to bring that child to safety.

“It’s a huge help. A lot of times we see in our job, it’s not just law enforcement solving these cases. It’s input from our citizens and a lot of times it’s input from our victims. In situations like this, they give us the information to work with,” Sanders said. “They give us the leads to run down.”

Police notified the Department of Children’s Services about the incident. Meanwhile, the suspect, Tempress Boon, 31, has been booked in the Blount County Jail on a $25,000 bond.

Detective Sanders said the arrest was a team effort.

“It fell into place, absolutely. It was from start to finish,” Sanders said. “This is how you want these things to end. If they’re going to happen, this is the way we want them to end.”

This is not the first armed robbery to take place at this Dollar General. Just last November, a thief held a clerk at gunpoint, demanding cash from the register. That person is still at large, almost one year later.

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