By Joe Johnson
Two suspects in the murder of a retired Gwinnett County deputy that occurred during an armed robbery spree that targeted more than a dozen auto parts stores have been linked to an Athens armed robbery in May, according to Athens-Clarke County police Capt. Christopher Nichols.
Tavares Levon Norah, 25, of Buford and Prince Tafari Robertson, 27, of Lawrenceville have been in custody at the Gwinnett County Detention Center since they were arrested last month.
They are suspects in the former deputy’s murder and have been linked to 15 armed robberies in the metro Atlanta area and are facing a combined 68 criminal charges, according to Gwinnett County police.
Gwinnett police said the robberies included one at O’Reilly’s Auto Parts in Buford on Jan. 8, where former Gwinnett Sheriff’s Deputy Sgt. Felix Cosme was killed while trying to protect a female coworker. He had been working at the store following his retirement from the sheriff's office.
The suspects continued to rob auto parts stores, police said, including two more in Gwinnett, ane one each in Roswell, Henry County, Athens and Duluth.
The Athens incident occurred at about 9:15 p.m. on May 21, when two black males wearing blue surgical-type masks entered the O’Reilly Auto Parts store at 230 Hawthorne Ave. According to police. One of the males drew a black semi-auto handgun and threatened the clerks that were working. He and the other suspect demanded money from the registers. Once the suspects received the money, they exited the store and left the premises.
“The police department learned of several similar robberies across metro Atlanta,” Capt. Nichols said. “Detective Scott Black personally worked with the Gwinnett County Police Department to investigate any connections. Ultimately, Robertson and Norah were linked to the crimes to include the Athens O’Reilly Auto Parts robbery.”
The suspects were arrested after they allegedly held up employees at an Auto Zone in Dacula On June 1 and crashed their car while being pursued by police.
Gwinnett police said the pair robbed a total of $17,391 from auto part stores.
They are each charged with felony murder and multiple counts of armed robbery, kidnapping, aggravated assault and other crimes.