A man charged in connection to the mid-January robbery of a Uni-Mart in Ferguson Township was bound over on all charges after a preliminary hearing Wednesday at the Centre County Courthouse.
Jimmy L. Carter, 53, was arraigned March 30 and charged for his alleged role in the incident, according to court documents. Ferguson Township police had alerted the public to the robbery, saying two men displayed firearms and struggled with an employee before firing shots. No injuries were reported.
A township police detective testified during the preliminary hearing that he and a fellow detective arrived at the Uni-Mart shortly after the incident and interviewed two store employees and a customer who had been in the store at the time of the robbery. He said the event involved three suspects, two of whom were identified.
The first suspect, identified as Ted R. Johnson, had reportedly entered the store first, according to the affidavit, and was described by a store employee as “suspicious.” Johnson reportedly asked several questions about the fuel pumps and at one point leaned over the counter and was looking in the cash register.
Two additional men entered the store, police said — one was identified as Carter and the other was reportedly wearing a mask. The men displayed handguns, and Carter allegedly pulled an employee near the counter while the other stood by the door.
When the second employee started throwing things at Carter — an attempt to “defend” the other employee, police said — he fired his handgun once toward the employee. The suspect at the door reportedly fired once as well.
Shell casings and bullets were retrieved at the scene, the detective said.
A customer in the store reported hearing shots fired, police said, so he crawled to the end of an aisle and waited for the men to “finish the job,” thinking he was going to get shot. He reported the men took about $200 in cash and lottery tickets he had sitting on the counter.
After Carter and the other man reportedly took the money, police said, they fled in the direction of Best Buy. Employees reported about $1,960 missing from the register.
A tip the following day led detectives to contact officers in Erie, the detective said, who reported Johnson and Carter had been involved in a traffic stop early that morning. Carter was reportedly found with a large amount of cash on him.
According to police, officers still do not have information regarding the final suspect. Court documents indicate the case against Johnson remains inactive at this time.
Carter was bound over on felony charges of robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery, discharging a firearm into an occupied structure and a felony charge of prohibited possession of firearms that was added prior to the hearing. An argument for higher bail was denied, and he remains incarcerated at the Centre County Correctional Facility.