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Armed robbery suspect arrested

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By Jeff M. Hardison

A man who is suspected of robbing a 55-year-old woman outside the Dollar General on Dec. 15 was arrested for strong-arm robbery on Jan. 31, according to records.

Louis Franco Garcia, 26, is believed to be the man who sprang out from bushes on the south end of the store at 1302 N. Young Blvd. Garcia grabbed her purse, which had a cell phone and cash, according to the victim who told Chiefland Police Officer Nick Viaggio about the attack.

Levy County Sheriff's Deputy Pete Barnes brought a dog to track the suspect, and the trail ended at tire tracks at the rear of the Dollar General and Chiefland Flea Market, Viaggio said.

Brynard and Danielle Hodge spoke with Viaggio about the Dec. 15 incident on Jan. 27. The Hodges told the officer that Garcia had told Brynard Hodge that Garcia committed the crime, Viaggio said, because he knew the victim was going to deposit revenue from the store's earnings that evening.

Hodge reportedly said he learned from his cousin "Connie," who is a store employee, that a man resembling Garcia had been the robber.

After being read a Miranda warning, Garcia confessed to the armed robbery, Viaggio said.

When the victim was shown a picture of the suspect, she identified him. She had known him for 12 years. The victim said she feared retaliation from Garcia if she identified him, when Viaggio asked her why she did not identify him days after the robbery.

CPD Officer Al Horne, LCSO Sgt. Carl Rogers, CPD Sgt. Al Graves Jr. and CPD detectives were involved in this case as well, according to records.

"I'm real proud of our guys who used all of their investigative skills to get enough probable cause to effect this arrest," said a pleased Police Chief Robert Douglas said. "They were like bloodhounds. They followed the evidence."

The police chief added that the robbery clearance rate for the city is 100 percent since he has been here, which is almost three years.