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Tobacco heist nets brothers

Posted on Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 10:25 am

Michael Griffin

It took but four hours for Northumberland County’s Sheriff’s Office to identify and apprehend a pair of Heathsville brothers accused of robbing the Tobacco Shop in Lottsburg on  Dec. 31.

The clerk at the shop, Sam Johnson, called the sheriff’s office just after 8 p.m. to report he’d been robbed at gun point.

“The clerk reported that two black males, each wearing masks, entered the store and ordered him to lie on the floor face down as they displayed a hand gun. The two perpetrators fled the store with cigarettes, an undisclosed amount of cash and a quantity of suspected synthetic tobacco-like merchandise. The pair also attempted to take several glass smoking devices but dropped them as they fled the store,” Sheriff C. A. Wilkins said of the robbery.

By soon after midnight the alleged robbers had been identified as Robert Henry Griffin IV, 27, and  Michael Cornelius Griffin, 22. Both were arrested in Hampton. They are charged with robbery, grand larceny, and wearing a mask to conceal identity, all felonies. The elder is also charged with felonious possession of a firearm.

The masks were not much use in hiding the pair’s identities. The store has three surveillance cameras and they had been into the shop unmasked and wearing the same clothes shortly before the robbery, clerk Sam Johnson said.

Johnson said the robbery scared him. “I’ve never been through anything like that in my life,” he said Monday.

Following the arrests,  Northumberland and Hampton officers executed search warrants that resulted in the recovery of the suspected weapon, a portion of the stolen property and other evidence connecting the pair to the crime, Wilkins noted.

The brothers’ preliminary hearings are set for Feb. 25. Tom Hughes was appointed to represent Michael Griffin and Will Hubbard was appointed to represent Robert Griffin. The pair are currently being held at the Northern Neck Regional Jail. No bond has been set.

Robert Griffin IV

Commonwealths Attorney Jane Wrightson said that the pair did not get a great deal of cash in the robbery. She also explained how the police knew to watch for the brothers in Hampton.

“Micheal lived down there,” she said.Hampton police knew where to watch for the brothers.

“I want to commend the work of deputies Joey Thompson, Tommy Lyons and Turmain Turner along with Major James Bruce and the Hampton Police Department for a job well done,” Wilkins said.