On December 30, 2011 the Dothan Police Department responded to an armed robbery in progress just after 7:00 p.m. at Food Depot (1357 Fortner Street). Employees told police the suspect entered the business and walked around the store for awhile before he finally approached the manager and handed him a note demanding cash. The manager walked outside with the suspect following closely behind him, once outside, the manager quickly re-entered the business and locked the door. The suspect, realizing he had been locked out, fled on foot on Fortner Street.
Investigators have been working with Florida authorities in this case to develop a possible connection between the suspect from this incident and recent robberies in Mexico Beach and Defuniak Springs, Florida. Investigators say during the course of the joint investigation, Florida authorities got a tip from Crimestoppers that gave a possible identity of the suspect, Samuel Paul Wadsworth. The suspect was then located in Panama City, Florida and brought in for questioning. He confessed to the robbery at Food Depot as well as the two bank robberies in Florida. A second suspect, Rachel Wingate, was also taken into custody after confessing to being the driver for all three robberies with full knowledge Wadsworth was committing the robberies.
Investigators say both suspects will be extradited to Alabama after facing robbery charges in Mexico Beach and Defuniak Springs. Investigators say it is unknown exactly when the extradition will occur but state Samuel Wadsworth, white male, 40 years of age, will be charged with First Degree Robbery while Rachel Wingate, white female, 45 years of age will also be charged with First Degree Robbery.
The Dothan Police Department would like to thank Florida authorities including Bay County S.O., Mexico Beach Police Department and Defuniak Springs Police Department for their assistance with this case.