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Suspect charged in Clermont armed robbery
From staff reports A Clermont man has been charged in the May 31 robbery at a convenience store in C
Michael Hoitink
Michael Hoitink

A Clermont man has been charged in the May 31 robbery at a convenience store in Clermont near the Lumpkin County line.

Michael Allen Hoitink, 25, is charged with armed robbery, according to a news release from the Hall County Sheriff’s Office.

Following the release of surveillance video of the suspect and his Ford Crown Victoria, a resident spotted the car on Ransom Free Road in North Hall County and called authorities.

Deputies responded and found the suspect, arresting him on an unrelated Superior Court arrest order out of drug court, according to Sgt. Stephen Wilbanks, spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office. Investigators responded as well and, after doing interviews, charged him with the robbery at Country Grocery and Deli, located at 6531 Dahlonega Highway.

Hoitink made his first appearance Friday in Hall Magistrate Court and waived a committal hearing.

He requested indigent defense and is being held without bond at the Hall County Jail until his case sees a Superior Court judge.

Manoj Patel and his wife, Sejal, were working the cash register the night of the robbery.

The suspect claimed to have a gun hidden in his waistband and demanded money, Manoj Patel said earlier this week.

“When he reached over, I saw that he had no gun in his waistband,” Patel said. “So I grabbed my flashlight and tried to hit him.”

That effort was captured on the surveillance video footage along with the suspect’s efforts to grab money from the cash register after Patel had opened it.

“A customer gave me that flashlight for protection because everybody knows this is a quiet area and that police are about 20 minutes away,” Patel said.

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