Erwin High students detain thief

Erwin High students detained a thief at Ingles grocery store on New Leicester Highway until sheriff's deputies arrived. Photo courtesy of Buncombe County Schools

From Buncombe County Schools:


(ASHEVILLE)- Buncombe County Sheriff Van Duncan made a special presentation to two Clyde A. Erwin High School students today for their roles in capturing an armed robbery suspect last month at the Ingles gas station located at 575 New Leicester Highway.

On February 17, 2016 at around 8 p.m., 17-year-old Alex McGlothlin and 18-year-old Cameron Connors were both working at the store when a man initially attempted a robbery inside of the gas station by pulling out a knife and demanding money. That initial attempt was unsuccessful due to the security glass partition separating the clerk from the suspect. The robber then went outside and forcibly stole the wallet of a woman who was pumping gas with her daughter in the car. In an attempt to flee the scene, the suspect, Travis Lee Coffey of Leicester, was tackled and subsequently detained by Mr. McGlothlin and Mr. Connors until sheriff’s deputies arrived. Coffey was charged with three counts of attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon and one count of common law robbery.

“It is just awesome when we see a couple of young men like Alex and Cameron step-up and protect people in the community,” said Sheriff Duncan. “They put themselves in personal danger but stepped up anyway and held on to this guy until the Sheriff’s office could get there.”

In a brief ceremony at the school this afternoon in front of Erwin High School students and staff, Sheriff Duncan presented both young men with the Exemplary Citizen Award and a Challenge Coin to recognize their bravery. The female victim is an employee of Massage Envy, which was on-hand to present both students with a gift for their heroism.

About Dan Hesse
I grew up outside of Atlanta and moved to WNC in 2001 to attend Montreat College. After college, I worked at NewsRadio 570 WWNC as an anchor/reporter and covered Asheville City Council and the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners starting in 2004. During that time I also completed WCU's Master of Public Administration program. You can reach me at

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