David Elton Hird, 30, of 63 Knollwood Drive, was arrested Monday at his home and charged with three counts of robbery in Catoosa County and one count of robbery in East Ridge, Tenn., according to Catoosa County Sheriff Phil Summers.
Summers said Hird was unarmed when he entered the four stores late Sunday and early Monday morning, and allegedly snatched an undisclosed amount of money from opened cash registers.
Hird is accused of robbing the Sav-A-Ton at 6360 Battlefield Parkway and Golden Gallon locations at 4257 Cloud Springs Road and 1310 Lafayette Road. Hird is also accused of robbing the Fast Food & Fuel on Ringgold Road in East Ridge.
Following his arrest Hird admitted to detectives that he had an operational methamphetamine lab in his truck, Summers said.
“He said he could not remember committing the robberies,” the sheriff said. “I think he was clearly committing the crimes to fund his drug habit.”
Kesh Patel, manager of Sav-A-Ton on Battlefield Parkway, said Hird entered his store about 10:30 p.m. Sunday and told the cashier on duty that he wanted to pay for $1 in gas.
Patel said when the employee opened the register Hird leapt over the counter and grabbed $400-$500 in cash out of the register. He said the entire incident was caught on tape by the store’s surveillance camera and reviewed by police shortly after the robbery.
Sheriff Summers said the meth lab found in Hird’s truck was “very small,” but mobile meth labs in vehicles and motel rooms is a major problem in the county.
“Meth manufacturing is a plague on law enforcement,” he said. “We get constant reports about people cooking meth. It’s a danger to the public and a terrible disease that’s affecting the entire nation.”
Summers said Hird is also under investigation in connection with additional snatch and grab convenience store robberies in neighboring Walker and Hamilton counties