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Suspect in armed robbery at Wal-Mart captured

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            A man police said robbed Statesboro's Wal-Mart early Monday is behind bars after a detective linked the stolen getaway car to the suspect and another armed robbery in Brunswick.

            With aid of the Candler County Sheriff's Department and Metter Police, Statesboro Police Det. Terry Briley arrested Ira James Bolyard, 29, in Metter, said Statesboro Police Capt. Scott Brunson.

            Authorities took Bolyard into custody shortly after noon Monday, just hours after he robbed a Statesboro Wal-Mart cashier at gunpoint, he said.

            Statesboro Police were called to Wal-Mart around 4:30 a.m., and spoke to witnesses who said a suspect with "short dark hair, a red ball cap, long sleeved red pullover,dark plaid shorts, and white tennis shoes" entered the store, approached a cashier and threatened her with a hand gun before taking an undisclosed amount of money, said Statesboro Police Chief Stan York.

            The suspect left in a " light-colored Lexus four door with a sunroof," which was later located at Jay's Food Mart in Metter, Brunson said.

            Briley, who was investigating the armed robbery, was called t the scene in Metter and discovered the car had been stolen from St. Simons Island. Then, he learned through further investigation that the suspect, Bolyard, was wanted in Brunswick for the armed robbery of a Wal-Mart there, he said.

            Using video from the Statesboro Wal-Mart armed robbery and " comparing notes with Brunswick Police," Briley came to a conclusion that the incidents were linked.

            "We have reason to believe (Bolyard) is the same person," Brunson said.

            With help from Candler County Sheriff Homer Bell and Metter Police, Briley located Bolyard at a Candler County residence and placed him under arrest for armed robbery and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.

            The firearm believed to have been used during the robbery was recovered, he said.

            Further charges are possible, Brunson said.

            Police do not believe Bolyard was involved in a previous armed robbery at Statesboro's Wal-Mart in May.

            Michael Thomas Padgett, 29,was charged with armed robbery, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon,  possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, obstruction of an officer, aggravated assault, and probation violation in connection with that incident, which is also under investigation by Briley.

            Monday's armed robbery remains under investigation as well, and anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to contact Briley at 764-1542 or 764-9911. All calls will be held confidentially, Brunson said.

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