By Donald Wittkowski
Two suspects captured on video surveillance cameras during an armed robbery at a Wawa store in Ocean City have been arrested after police circulated their photos to local hotels and on social media
Tariq Jackson, 18, and Joseph Lee, 19, both of Hummelstown, Pa., have been charged with robbery and weapons offenses. Jackson was also charged with aggravated assault, Ocean City police said Tuesday while announcing the arrests.
Jackson and Lee allegedly robbed the Wawa store at 12th Street and West Avenue at around 12:20 a.m. on Dec. 29.
They were arrested Dec. 30 at the Caesars casino hotel in Atlantic City.
Ocean City police detectives were able to identify the suspects after circulating their photos to local hotels. Police also reached out to the public for help by posting the photos on social media.
Capt. Steve Ang, a police spokesman, said Jackson and Lee were staying at Watson’s Regency Suites in Ocean City. With help from police in Hummelstown, authorities were able to learn their identities, he said.
Cooperation between the Ocean City, Atlantic City and Hummelstown police departments was key in the arrest of the suspects within 24 hours of the robbery, according to Ang.
Two Wawa employees told police that the suspects, believed to have been armed, approached them and demanded money. No customers were in the store during the robbery.
Police did not release the amount of money that was stolen. Ang said a search continues for the weapon used in the robbery.
The robbers had their faces covered and were wearing hooded-type sweatshirts during the holdup, police said in a news release. Photos of the suspects captured by surveillance cameras inside and outside the store before the robbery aided police in their arrest.
Ang said the widespread use of social media and video surveillance cameras has made it easier for police departments to do their job.
“Police departments are using social media outlets to identify the bad guys,” he said.