Authorities arrested a second suspect accused of robbing Southern Pines Zales Jewelry store at gunpoint on July 28, according to a news release from the Southern Pines Police Department.

After a multi-agency investigation that involved Southern Pines Police, Greensboro, North Carolina Police Department, State Bureau Investigation, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Crime Scene Investigation Unit of Horry County, and South Carolina Police Department, Christopher Demarcus Bethea, 42, of Hartsville, South Carolina, was arrested Saturday. 

Bethea was charged with robbery with a firearm and two counts of second degree kidnapping and is in custody in Greensboro under a $585,000 secured bond.

The first suspect, Gilbert Smith, 57, of Fayetteville, was taken into custody without incident two days after the robbery.

“At the time of this robbery, two employees were working in the store,” said the news release. “A black male, upon entering the store, pointed a firearm at one victim and demanded that the contents of the ring counter be placed in a bag. The suspect then moved the employee to a bathroom along with a second employee and ordered the employees to secure themselves with nylon ties that were brought by the suspect. The armed suspect fled the store to a waiting vehicle, with numerous rings valued in excess of $300,000.”


Authorities investigating the scene on July 28 ~ Sandhills Sentinel.

Smith was in possession of some of the stolen property at the time of his arrest in Laurinburg and was placed in the Moore County Detention Center under a $750,000 secured bond. He was charged with robbery with a firearm and possession of stolen property.

Southern Pines and Fayetteville Police Departments searched Smith’s home with a warrant and found the remaining stolen goods with the exception of two rings.


Officials working the crime scene where over $300,000 in rings were stolen ~ Sandhills Sentinel.

“The Southern Pines Police Department has worked tirelessly to establish and maintain outstanding working relationships with law enforcement professionals, not only locally, but throughout the country,” said Southern Pines Police Chief Bob Temme. “The importance of unified law enforcement relationships and efforts has once again been highlighted in this investigation. It was these relationships that ultimately brought both Gilbert Smith and Christopher Demarcus Bethea to justice.”

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