Greenville armed robbery victims speak out about what happened

Soonam Leen

GREENVILLE, Pitt County - A rash of armed robberies in Greenville has led to the arrests of five teenagers. Now, victims are speaking out about their experiences.

Soonam Leen, a mechanic at NC Motor City, described a fearful scene when two men showed up with a gun to his shop demanding money.

"I was sitting there fixing a moped, an engine, rebuilding an engine and they just come around from the back and point a gun on my face," Leen said. "I raised my hands up and they just kept asking, my money, get all of it for him."

Leen didn't have much to give the teenagers. He said except for his credit cards, he doesn't carry much cash. Regardless, the men took the cash he had, along with his phone, and left.

Greenville's Police Chief Mark Holtzman said from Sept. 4-Oct. 31, there have been eight armed robberies in the local area. Officials believe they were all done by the same men -- five teenagers -- all 16,17 and 18 years old.

"This was really the culmination of a lot of police work that came together," Holtzman said. "This really took everyone in this building and this community to work on this."

Police said the men, who were arrested Wednesday, approached five different Speedways, a Sheetz, Wings Over Greenville and NC Motor City in the same manor -- at gunpoint.

Holtzman said it's rare for this many armed robberies to happen so close together.

"We used every available technique we could, some of those we can't discuss, but it certainly got it to the conclusion that we wanted, which was an arrest," Holtzman said.

Leen has decided to make changes around NC Motor City since the robbery. He's installed more cameras and now has inside video monitoring. He also claims to be keeping a gun close by.

"Mostly I just put a gun inside the office," Leen said. "I never put it on my side and after [the robbery] I always put a gun on my side right now."

NewsChannel 12 also reached out to the other places where the robberies took place.

Donneysha Ridley was working behind the counter at Wings Over Greenville when the men came in to rob the restaurant. She said she's glad they've been caught as that night was terrifying for her.

All five individuals arrested have been charged with eight counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon and eight counts of conspiracy to commit robbery. Their next court appearance is scheduled for November 15.