Officers were staking out serial robbery suspect caught in Forsyth

A robbery suspect was shot and three law enforcement officers were injured Saturday morning during an alleged robbery and getaway attempt at a Forsyth County CVS pharmacy.

Kelvone Charleston, a 36-year-old Austell man, is suspected of a string of up to 32 armed robberies of CVS stores and other commercial locations in metro Atlanta since November, 2013, said FBI spokesman Stephen Emmett.

“This was the result of some very good law enforcement effort… to bring a 32-robbery crime spree to an end, and we feel like we did that,” said Emmett.

The FBI and other task force members had been trying for some time to catch the robber, who was known to hit CVS and other stores shortly after they open in the morning, when there were likely to be few or no customers. Two weeks ago a man wearing a ski mask and carrying a handgun robbed a CVS store in Canton shortly after it opened, when only two employees were in the store, similar to other recent robberies of area CVS stores.

“This was not a chance meeting,” said Emmett. He said investigators had identified Charleston as the likely culprit in the string of robberies, and expected him to be armed and ready to rob another store early Saturday morning when they began trailing him.

“We knew about him. We knew what his past (method of operation) was,” said Emmett.

Over a dozen FBI and local law enforcement officers were on Charlston’s tail when they followed him to a CVS shop at Windemere Parkway and Old Atlanta Road about 7 a.m., said Emmett. They observed him park his vehicle in a nearby parking lot and pop the hood.

When Charleston began walking to the CVS store, putting on a ski mask and armed with a handgun, they confronted him, said Emmett.

“It was clear that he was about to rob that CVS pharmacy,” he said.

The suspect rushed back to his car and tried to flee, ramming two of the officers’ vehicles and flipping one of them on its side.

“After he displayed a weapon, officers fired,” said Emmett. Charleston was hit multiple times but none of the wounds were life-threatening, he said. Charleston was taken to an area hospital for treatment.

Two FBI agents and one Cherokee County deputy who were in the flipped vehicle were injured as a result of the crash, said Emmett. They were treated at an area hospital and released, he said.

Emmett said the task force involved in Saturday’s arrest included 17 officers from the FBI, Cherokee County Sheriff’s office, and the Atlanta, Powder Springs and Gwinnett County police departments.

“They did a great job,” said Robin Regan, spokesman for the Forsyth County Sheriff’s office, which was not directly involved in the incident.