Armed suspects rob Natchez grocery store, wound manager

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 2, 2001

An assistant manager of Piggly Wiggly in Natchez was wounded Monday night in an armed robbery at the business just prior to closing.

Donnie Boles, 46, was being treated in the ICU of Natchez Community Hospital Tuesday evening with stable vital signs.

According to witnesses, the suspects came in the north door of the business, firing several shots in the direction of the store’s office, striking Boles in the leg.

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Natchez Police Chief Willie Huff said the shooting took place before an 8:47 call reporting the robbery at the store on 29 Seargent S. Prentiss Drive.

&uot;(The two suspects) had come into the store just prior to the call yelling for everybody to get on the floor,&uot; Huff said.

Neither suspect had been arrested as of Tuesday evening, and Boles was the only person injured. One bullet passed through Bole’s right thigh and became lodged in his left thigh, Huff said.

&uot;We’re just really fortunate no one else was injured and the victim wasn’t injured seriously,&uot; Huff said.

One of the suspects also jumped over the wall to the office, stealing an undisclosed amount of money and checks from the cash drawer before running out of the store, Huff said.

&uot;It was probably over in 35 seconds or 45 seconds,&uot; Huff said, adding that only a few people were in the store at the time and only about four people were in the front of the store.

&uot;It disturbed me the violence that was used,&uot; Huff said. &uot;We’ve got everybody working full-time on this case.&uot;

Barry Loy, retail store director of Supermarket Operations, which owns Piggly Wiggly, said he was pleased with how the employees handled the incident.

&uot;The employees handled themselves very well under the pressure,&uot; Loy said. &uot;And we wish Mr. Boles all the best (in his recovery).&uot;

Boles has worked for the company for the past 15 years, Loy said. Loy said the shooting is a first for the company’s grocery stores.

&uot;It’s a fear that we have every day in retail,&uot; Loy said. &uot;Luckily in Natchez we don’t usually have that fear.&uot;

Police are seeking help in locating the suspects.

The suspects have been described as being two black males about 5 feet 10 inches tall, one of whom was wearing a blue sweatshirt with hood and dark pants.

Anyone with information is asked to call Miss-Lou Crime Stoppers at 442-5000. All calls are anonymous and a reward of up to $1,000 may be available.