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Roanoke Rapids police are investigating a third armed armed robbery within a span of a week.

The third heist occurred this morning around 1:30 at New Dixie on Julian R. Allsbrook Highway near Cracker Barrel, Chief Chuck Hasty confirmed.

One customer outside the store was pistol-whipped and robbed of their cellphone and wallet, he said.

The store was robbed of an undisclosed amount of money and the clerk was assaulted. A customer inside the store was robbed of their wallet.

In a statement Hasty said Weldon police Sergeant K. Melton, who was working an extra-duty assignment at another store on Julian R. Allsbrook, was flagged down by a person who told him they were robbed.

While Roanoke Rapids officers responded to New Dixie the store employee arrived where Melton was talking to the first victim.

The employee told officers two people entered the store with handguns, demanded money and assaulted them.

The first victim told staff they were approached by two men while outside the store

The suspects are described as standing 5-feet 6-inches and 5-feet, 8-inches tall. One  was wearing a gray shirt and the other had on a black coat with the face covered. The men fled toward Hampton Boulevard on foot.

Hasty said investigators are working to determine whether this morning's robbery is related to one which occurred last Wednesday morning at what is traditionally called Presto and one late Thursday night at New Dixie at the intersection of Park Avenue and Tenth Street.

A clerk was shot during the Presto robbery and continues to recover.

Asked about motive, Hasty said, "These appear to be crimes of opportunity based on the times they have occurred and pure and simple greed."

These men should be considered armed and dangerous and should not be approached.  Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the police department at 252-533-2810 or Crimestoppers at 252-583-4444.