Kroger armed robbery suspect caught after crashing getaway car

Man accused of robbing Kroger at gunpoint identified

FAYETTE COUNTY, Ga. — Police have identified the man they say robbed a Kroger grocery store at gunpoint.

Police said Leslie Darnell Byrd, 51, of Riverdale, held up Kroger employees at the store at Banks Crossing and State Route 85 in Fayetteville.

“It was a quiet robbery. I'd venture to say most customers didn't know what was going on,” Capt. Mike Whitlow of the Fayetteville Police Department told Channel 2’s Tyisha Fernandes.

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After the clerk gave Byrd the money he allegedly demanded, witnesses said Byrd ran out of the store and jumped into a silver car.

Police spotted the car a short distance away and had an unmarked unit follow the suspect.

“There was never a pursuit. He was following the vehicle waiting on other units to get there. The vehicle went up 138, entered Interstate 85 North, exited at the Flat Shoals Road exit and eventually crashed in a neighborhood,” Whitlow said.

Channel 2 Action News was the only station there when Byrd crashed and police arrested him some 15 miles away from the Kroger store.

Investigators initially thought Byrd  may be involved in other robberies, but they no longer believe that is the case.

Fernandes asked Kroger officials about the robbery. They didn't speak specifically about it, but did say, "We've been working with local authorities and it's our understanding that a suspect has been apprehended."

Police said no one got hurt during the robbery but it did take an emotional toll on some employees

“They were shaken up pretty bad and we had a witness advocate on scene out there to help them deal with that,” Whitlow told Fernandes.

Police said Byrd is looking at one count of armed robbery.