Man robs church yard worker at gunpoint

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CHIPLEY, Fla. (WTVY) -- Chipley Police are asking for the public's help in identifying a man who they say robbed a yard service man and held him at gunpoint.

(Source: Chipley Police Department)

It was Wednesday, August 21st -- a normal day at St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church in Chipley.

The people who work there say they are still shocked.

Police say a suspect who looks like their sketch robbed a man at gunpoint.

"When I heard about it, it completely took me by surprise," said Pastor Philip Fortin of St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church.

Pastor Philip Fortin says the victim had been working for them for over a year.

"I wouldn't want to wish this on anybody; hopefully it will never happen again," said Fortin.

At the time of the armed robbery, the man was cutting grass.

"Our victim was approached by an unknown black male who approached him about working. When our victim says, he didn't have any work for him, the subject then produced a weapon, a firearm, robbed him," said Scott Thompson, Chipley Police Chief

Chief Thompson says the suspect took cash, a 2002 GMC Sierra truck and a trailer loaded with lawnmowers. The suspect also tied the victim to this chain-link fence.

"There were some employees who worked nearby that happened by and found our victim," said Thompson.

Chief Thompson says he had been there for almost 30 minutes.

"We are still working just as hard as we can. I think at this point we have taken every avenue we have to develop further leads," said Thompson.

Police say the suspect is between 5-foot 10-inches and 6-foot 2-inches, average build, and mid-20s to 30s, with a thin beard.

"If you recognize that individual in the picture or think you recognize him please call us," said Thompson.

And at the church - they are also taking steps to follow up.

"We are trying to figure out what to do to prevent it from happening again, it completely took us by surprise," said Pastor Fortin.

Crime Stoppers of Washington County is offering a reward of up to $500 for information leading to an arrest.

You can call Crime Stoppers of Washington County at 850-638-TIPS, or you can call Chipley Police at 850 638-6310.

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