by: Kerry Kavanaugh Updated:GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. —
Police say two suspects watched, followed and attacked at least eight
small-business owners since April.
While chefs cooked up meals at restaurants across Gwinnett County, Darnell Rice and Felix Pierson were cooking up a scheme targeting the owners of those restaurants.
"They jumped out of the bushes in front of the house and there were two men and they held her up at
gunpoint," Joy Wang told Channel 2's Kerry Kavanaugh.
The attack on Wang's 63-year-old mother, Lien, happened in June, after she left the family's Snellville business Happy China.
"They did throw her down on the ground," Wang said. "She didn't want to give up her purse and that's what they were after."
"They were targeting female employees. We speculate they thought they were getting the owner in each case," Cpl. Jake Smith says there's a perception the owners would carry cash.
Unfortunately, in some cases they were.
Joy Wang lost $3,000. Other victims lost more than $20,000.
"We think that they actually followed them out of here and in a small team actually did surveillance," Smith said.
Police say they would study the layouts of the neighborhoods, the homes, in some cases they cut holes in fences to make for an easier escape.
A sergeant remembered similar robberies from 2009, which led them to their suspects. They say intelligence tipped police off to a similar robbery in the planning stages Orlando. Darnell Rice and Felix Pierson are now in custody in Florida.
"We have a sense of relief because we've kind of had to look over our shoulder every night that we go home," Wang said. "It's pathetic."
There is no word yet on when the two men will be extradited.
In some cases as many as five men jumped the victims.