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Man pulls knife on Athens transit driver, robs store clerk

Edward Lee Wessinger

By Joe Johnson A Crawford man was arrested Wednesday morning after he threatened an Athens-Clarke County Transit bus driver with a knife and then used the weapon to rob a nearby convenience store, according to the Madison County Sheriff’s Office. The suspect, 42-year-old Edward Lee Wessinger is the same person who in March 2019 stole an ambulance from a hospital in Athens prior to burglarizing the Hawthorne Avenue Walgreens. According to the sheriff’s office, Tuesday’s incident began at about 8:30 a.m. when deputies were dispatched to Ingles in Hull in reference to a white male brandishing a hunting knife on the bus driver in the parking lot. Prior to deputies arriving, the male walked to a nearby Apex convenience store and threatened the clerk with the knife and demanded money, and after being given money from the register, the male fled on foot, dropping the money in the process. After a brief search involving officers from Madison and Athens-Clarke County and the Georgia State Patrol, Wessinger was located and arrested at another convenience store just inside of Athens-Clarke County, the sheriff’s office said. Wessinger was charged with aggravated assault, false imprisonment and armed robbery. More charges are possibly pending as the investigation continues, according to the sheriff’s office. In last year’s incident, on March 24, Wessinger stole a National EMS ambulance that the driver left idling at St. Mary’s Hospital while inside waiting for a patient to be discharged, according to Athens-Clarke County police. He then drove to Walgreens where he committed a smash-and-grab burglary. Using the ambulance's GPS tracking device, police said officers later found the ambulance abandoned at River's Edge apartments on West Broad Street. When booked into the county jail, Wessinger was listed as being homeless. A Clarke County grand jury subsequently indicted Wessinger with felony theft by taking a motor vehicle, burglary and reckless driving. In November, Wessinger entered into a negotiated agreement with prosecutors in which he pleaded guilty to all charges in return for a sentence of 14 months in confinement, with credit given for time already spent in jail, and 16 years on probation, which included 12 months of inpatient substance abuse treatment, according to court records.

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