A Columbus man who had recently been released from prison after nearly 11 years behind bars has been tied to a string of violent crimes in Atlanta and Newnan, authorities said.
Lawrence Franklin, 35, is accused of holding a woman against her will at knifepoint early Monday morning in Midtown, Atlanta police said. He also has been tied to two armed robberies at businesses in Atlanta as well as an armed bank robbery in Newnan since Friday.
About 3 a.m. Monday, a woman was walking to her vehicle in the 100 block of 10th Street when Franklin came up behind her and put a knife to her back, Atlanta police said in a news release. He allegedly forced her to get into a vehicle, where he demanded her keys and tried to drive away.
He “was unsuccessful,” which led him to climb on top of the woman as she began to struggle with him, the release said. Several good Samaritans heard the woman’s cries and were able to detain Franklin until officers arrived.
The victim was taken to Atlanta Medical Center, where she is expected to be OK, police said.
Franklin was booked on charges of false imprisonment and aggravated assault. He remains in the Fulton County jail after being denied bond Tuesday.
On Saturday about 3 p.m., he’s accused of robbing a Subway at 1459 Moreland Avenue in southeast Atlanta, police said. Franklin allegedly pointed a handgun at employees before emptying the cash register.
About six hours later, Franklin is accused of robbing a Dollar Tree at 906 Ralph David Abernathy Boulevard in southwest Atlanta. The suspect, who was wearing a traffic vest, made a purchase before holding the cashier at gunpoint and taking an undisclosed amount of money from the store’s safe, police said.
In connection with those two robberies, Franklin faces five felony charges: two counts of armed robbery, two counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime and a count of aggravated assault with intent to rob.
He’s also tied to Friday’s robbery at a Wells Fargo bank off Joseph Hannah Boulevard in Newnan, authorities said. Newnan police posted about the incident on their Facebook page Friday afternoon, asking for the public’s help in finding a man wearing a traffic vest.
The suspect lifted his shirt to show the bank teller a pistol in his waistband as he handed her a note demanding to go to the safe, Newnan police Detective Brandon Kline said in a news conference. However, the bank teller told the suspect she could not open the safe, leading him to leave.
Kline said his department will file armed robbery charges against Franklin.
Fulton County jail records also show Franklin has active warrants out of Muscogee County.
He has served two stints in prison, according to Georgia Department of Corrections records. Since 2003, he has spent nearly 15 years behind bars.
His most recent prison sentence ended July 13, GDC records show. Franklin was previously convicted of armed robbery, obstruction, fleeing police and several firearm possession charges in Muscogee County.
Franklin’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for Dec. 17.
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