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Press Release

Wilmington Man Sentenced to 78 Months for Circle K Robbery

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of North Carolina

NEW BERN, N.C. – A Wilmington man was sentenced today to 78 months in prison for his role in a Wilmington convenience store robbery and car-jacking that resulted in a car crash at an elementary school.

According to court documents, Ronald Lee Croll, 51, and a co-defendant donned masks in the early morning hours of August 18, 2019 and robbed the Circle K gas station on Gordon Road in Wilmington.  Croll brandished a handgun, later determined to be a BB gun, pointed it at the head of the store clerk and demanded money.  The clerk gave Croll the cash drawer and Croll demanded the clerk’s car keys.  In a back room, Croll took the keys, ordered the clerk to lay on the floor and attempted to zip tie the clerk’s wrists together.  Croll and his co-defendant then took the clerk’s car and fled with the cash drawer and a number of cigarette packs.  New Hanover County Sheriff’s Deputies spotted the vehicle on Market Street and gave pursuit.  The car tried to elude officers by driving at a high rate of speed through a residential neighborhood, eventually going off the road before crashing into a basketball hoop at Blair Elementary School.  Croll and his co-defendant then fled on foot before being apprehended.  Officers recovered zip ties, cash, the BB gun, cigarettes, the cash drawer, and clothing worn during the robbery from the vehicle and the flight path of the defendants.  After being apprehended, Croll was interviewed and admitted his role in the offense.

G. Norman Acker, III, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Louise W. Flanagan. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office investigated, the Wilmington Police Department assisted in the response, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryan Stephany prosecuted the case.

Related court documents and information can be found on the website of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina or on PACER by searching for Case No. 7:19-CR-00184-FL.

Updated April 23, 2021

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