Business owner says armed robbery suspect was regular customer

By: Sheli Muniz Email
By: Sheli Muniz Email
Yearby Foston standoff

Officers escort Yearby Foston off the Fifth Street bridge, ending the hour-long standoff on Friday afternoon. (WRDW-TV / Aug. 3, 2012)

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Friday, Aug. 3, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Investigators say an armed robbery at Guide One Insurance off Peach Orchard Road on Thursday was one of the first events leading up to Friday afternoon's standoff on the bridge.

The owner of that business is talking to News 12. He says he knows accused armed robbery Yearby Foston and his family on a personal level.

The owner says he was stunned to find out Foston is accused of breaking into his business and attempting to hurt one of his employees.

It was a tense moment for Foston's family as deputies finally escorted him off the Fifth Street bridge trestle after an hour-long standoff Friday afternoon.

The owner of Guide One Insurance described them as regular customers.

"We know him and his family on a personal level, you know, you would never think that someone that you know as well as him would walk into your office," said owner Cleo Parker.

But deputies and the owner say on Thursday night, Foston didn't just want into the office.

"He walks in with a weapon and comes in and attacks her," Parker said.

A crime that left one of his employees injured and Parker shocked.

"He's just not the kind of person we would've expected to come in and do something like this," Parker said.

Someone else with a family connection was head negotiator, Richmond County School Public Safety Lt. Richard Roundtree.

He told News 12, "I received a call from the suspect's cousin that he was wanted by the police officers. I wasn't familiar with the case."

Roundtree told News 12, "The subject wanted help, so we just kept playing on the fact that we would provide him help. He called his family several times and a lot of people started calling in, so it made it kind of hard because you couldn't control the situation, so it got kind of volatile."

Back at the store, Parker was on edge knowing the accused armed robber was now involved in the standoff.

"I wanted to make sure that it ended on a positive note and the only positive way that this could have ended is that he's not dead and she's not dead [victim], but he does need to bear the consequence," Parker said.

Cpt. Scott Gay with the Richmond County Sheriff's Office told News 12, "He does not want to go back to prison; he has a long criminal history."

Jail is exactly where he'll be -- at least for now.

News 12 is still trying to gather Foston's criminal history. We do know he has previous aggravated assault charges in Richmond County and is currently wanted in Michigan. They describe him as a violent offender.

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1212 Augusta, GA 30903 Main Telephone: (803) 278-1212 Newsroom: (803) 278-3111 Fax: (803) 442-4561
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