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Robberies were to pay bills

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By Christopher Brooke, Reporter

HILLSVILLE — The 32-year-old Mount Airy, N.C., man who tried to rob three financial services businesses in Cana during the summer of 2007 pleaded guilty to all charges in Carroll Circuit Court last Thursday.

Carroll deputies had charged Carl Anthony Berrier with two counts of armed robbery for going into Speedy Cash and Cash to Go with a knife and demanding money in July 2007.

A locked door at the BB&T bank in Cana stymied a similar attempt there and led to Berrier's capture. Authorities charged him with attempted robbery for that incident.

In Carroll Circuit Court last week, Berrier took responsibility and pleaded guilty to the charges, according to Commonwealth's Attorney Greg Goad.

A sentencing hearing was set for April 23.

Police noticed a pattern as to when the robberies occurred — always on a Thursday or Friday around the 10 a.m. hour.

Carroll Chief Deputy Glenn Nester was patrolling the area when the final attempt occurred and pulled over Berrier's Chevy S-10 Blazer.

Nester looked in the Blazer and found the tag that had been pulled off the vehicle, a pair of gloves, a knife, a mask and a trash bag.

Berrier confessed to the crimes, telling sheriff's department investigators Fred Bobbitt and Venton Smith that he did it because he and his wife were in "desperate" financial shape.

He and his wife had been close to losing their house at the time, Berrier told the investigators.

"My wife is disabled due to a car wreck that she was in and can't work," he said in his confession, written out by the investigators and signed by the accused.

"The bank told me I had to have $1,400 and some odd dollars by last Friday or they were going to take papers out..."

The Berriers also had medical bills to pay.

Berrier took the money from the robberies and gave it to his wife to pay bills with, he told the investigators. She thought he had been getting the money from his uncle.

The amount of money taken totaled about $3,200, according to the statement.

Berrier expressed remorse for threatening the workers at the paycheck cashing businesses with a knife.

"I am glad it's over and will do anything to make it right," he said in the statement. "I have never done anything like this and will never do it again."