FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. – Deputies are looking for two men accused of bounding a store clerk and dousing him in fuel and then setting fire to the building with the clerk inside.
The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office released two surveillance videos on Friday which show one of the suspects entering a store and going to the counter.
The crime happened at about 11 p.m. Saturday at the Stop and Save located at 6641 Styers Ferry Road in Forsyth County.
Investigators said two suspects entered the store at about 9:40 p.m. and demanded money from the clerk at gunpoint. The clerk was tied up and accelerant was poured throughout the store, according to deputies.
The store’s owner, who didn’t want to be identified, said his employee was bound with zip ties and tied to a chair. The suspects used diesel fuel, which they poured on the employee, and inside the store.
The owner said the men were inside for about an hour, even pretending to be employees when would-be customers tried to enter.
The suspects stole thousands of dollars’ worth of items, according to authorities.
The suspects then locked the victim inside, still bound by the zip ties, after setting the store on fire, according to the owner.
Deputies say the suspects then stole the clerk’s vehicle. It was found burned and unoccupied just before midnight in Davie County.
The owner said the clerk was able to free himself from the zip ties but was unable to escape. The store’s windows are protected by bars.
The clerk was freed by firefighters after people outside noticed the smoke, heard him yelling and called 911, according to the owner.
Deputies have released a surveillance image of one of the suspects. He is described as a white male, approximately 25 to 35 years old, about 6’4,” with short black hair. He was wearing a tan/brown jacket, blue jeans, a black tee shirt and work boots at the time.
The second suspects has been described as a white male, about 60 years old, 5’6” to 5’8” and wearing black pants, a black T-shirt and a white sailor’s hat.
Deputies said the two were traveling in a newer model white Ford F-350 with dual rear wheels.
The victim was taken to a local hospital where he was treated for non-life-threatening injuries. The store owner says the victim is OK physically, but understandably shaken.
Fire officials estimated the damage to the store to be $200,000.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to an arrest.
Anyone with any information can call Crimestoppers at (336) 727-2800 for English or (336) 728-3904 for Spanish, or the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office at (336) 727-2112.