Houston & Peach

Two suspected in armed robbery of Byron liquor store

BYRON -- Two people arrested in Florida are suspected of the armed robbery of a Byron liquor store early Thursday.

Benedict Phillip, 26, of Warner Robins is facing an armed robbery charge in the 10 a.m. robbery of B’s Bottle Shop at 234 Ga. 49.

Police suspect another man, 25-year-old Allen Rowland, who was arrested with Phillip, of being the getaway driver in the Byron robbery, said Byron police Detective Melanie Bickford.

Byron authorities originally thought they were dealing with one suspect. The store surveillance video was not clear enough to distinguish whether there was more than one person inside the getaway vehicle.

But Phillip and Rowland are spotted on another store surveillance video during an armed robbery later Thursday off Interstate 75 in Lowndes County, Bickford said.

A second police bulletin was issued after that robbery, and Columbia County, Florida, authorities spotted the vehicle and pulled its driver over.

Rowland, the suspected getaway driver in both robberies, surrendered, she said.

But Phillip moved from a passenger’s seat to the driver’s seat and fled. He lead authorities on a high-speed chase for nearly 30 miles that ended when stop sticks were deployed. He was expected to be held in the Alachua County, Florida, jail after he’s treated and released from a Florida hospital, Bickford said.

Speeds reached up to 110 miles per hour during the chase.

Rowland has not been charged so far, Bickford said.

Authorities were conducting a search of Phillips’ Warner Robins residence Thursday afternoon, she said.

Anyone with information related to the 10 a.m. robbery is asked to contact Bickford at 478-956-2493 or leave anonymous tips for Macon Regional Crimestoppers at 877-68-CRIME.