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Jury convicts Wilmington man in 2017 armed robbery spree

Published: Jul. 26, 2021 at 3:31 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - A Wilmington man is headed to prison for two decades after he was convicted of an armed robbery spree in 2017.

According to the District Attorney’s Office, a New Hanover County jury on Friday found Nathaniel Thomas Lawrence, 25, guilty of five counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon and eight counts of second-degree kidnapping, following a week-long trial.

Lawrence was sentenced to 20 to 28 years in prison for the crimes.

Prosecutors say during a three-week period in late 2017, Lawrence and another man, Darron Eugene Edmonds Jr., robbed local businesses five times from Nov. 11 to Dec. 1.

The robberies were of the Taco Bell located at 2355 South 17th Street (on November 11), the Speedway located at 6769 Gordon Road (on November 18 and again on November 26), the Family Dollar at 2616 Castle Hayne Road (on November 30, when they were joined by a third, unknown accomplice), and the Han-Dee Hugo’s at 820 North College Road (on December 1).

Edmonds was captured near the scene of the final robbery while Lawrence fled the region and was eventually caught in West Virginia. Edmonds previously pleaded guilty in Dec. 2018 and is serving 5-7 years in prison.

Five victims, each from a different one of the robberies, testified against Lawrence during last week’s trial, prosecutors said.

Lawrence was one of six people previously convicted in connection with the shooting death of Zhen Bo Liu, a delivery driver, in 2012. He served 20-36 months in prison on a charge of conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon

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