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Man in koala hat suspect in 2 Lowcountry armed robberies

This man, wearing a koala hat, is suspected of robbing the Parker’s on US 17 in Hardeeville on July 11, 2016, according to police. Surveillance video showed he visited the store earlier wearing a Chicago Bulls hat. Hardeeville Police Chief Sam Woodward said the man is also suspected of robbing a BP in Cherry Point in Jasper County.
This man, wearing a koala hat, is suspected of robbing the Parker’s on US 17 in Hardeeville on July 11, 2016, according to police. Surveillance video showed he visited the store earlier wearing a Chicago Bulls hat. Hardeeville Police Chief Sam Woodward said the man is also suspected of robbing a BP in Cherry Point in Jasper County. Submitted photo

The suspect who donned a koala hat and robbed a Hardeeville convenience store early Monday morning is believed to be the same man who used a weapon to rob a Cherry Point store earlier that day, police say.

Jasper County Sheriff Gregory B. Jenkins said the suspect stole $96 from the Cherry Point Circle K. Jenkins said the incident occurred sometime between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. Monday morning.

No one was hurt, he said.

The Hardeeville Police Department has released images of a suspect wearing a koala hat and smoking a cigarette as he entered the Parker’s on Highway 17 around 2 a.m. Monday.

He “entered the store and brandished a handgun (and demanded) money,” according to a news release from the town.

Hardeeville Police Chief Sam Woodward said no one was hurt during that robbery. The suspect made off with an “undisclosed amount” of money, Woodward said. He said he could not release a description of the gun at this time.

Woodward also said the same man is suspected to have robbed the Cherry Point store in Jasper County just before he hit the Hardeeville store. Jenkins said he thought the the same suspect committed both robberies.

“I think he was trying to hide his identity, mostly,” Woodward said, when asked why he thought the suspect might have donned the koala hat. “Because it was a lot bigger than the (Chicago) Bulls hat (he wore when he entered the Parker’s the first time earlier the same night).”

Woodward explained the suspect had visited the store right before he robbed it. The clerk recognized him and was able to provide police with two surveillance images.

This story will be updated.

Wade Livingston: 843-706-8153, @WadeGLivingston

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