The Columbus suspect in Saturday's Circle K armed robbery has been placed behind bars.
Joe Fitzgerald Foster, 43, pleaded not guilty to armed robbery, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime charges tied to the afternoon incident.
Foster, a convicted felon in Georgia and Alabama, was ordered held in the Muscogee County Jail without bond. The case was bound over to Superior Court.
Columbus Police Sgt. Kenneth Hudson said Foster entered the 3010 Buena Vista Road business at about 3:45 p.m. He was reportedly wearing a blue towel over his head, a white hat and blue or black jeans.
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Hudson said he brandished a black revolver at the store clerk and stole more than $400 from the cash registers before fleeing the store.
No one was harmed during the incident, police testified.
The employee left the store to see which direction the suspect went. She spotted a customer in the parking lot and alerted him about the runaway robber, according to the detective's testimony.
The customer allegedly chased Foster as he jumped a fence, raced pass Advance Auto Parts, ran along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and went behind Brewer Elementary School.
The man reportedly witnessed Foster stop on Roosevelt Street and change into a black tank top and camouflage shorts. He told police that he saw a cab pull up to the area and pick up the alleged thief. The witness informed authorities around 3:57 p.m., and officials spotted Foster in a cab wearing the same clothing that the witness described earlier, Hudson said.
Police initiated a traffic stop on the cab and apprehended Foster. The defendant was found with more than $400 in cash in his possession, but officials have yet to recover the weapon, Hudson testified.
"At that time, Mr. Foster made several spontaneous utterances, such as if he had a gun he would have killed Officer Moore and Officer Burgess," Hudson said.
Authorities said Foster was taken to the Columbus Public Safety Center to be interviewed. The man was allegedly very agitated and banged his head against a wall at police headquarters, Hudson said.
Police were able to calm the suspect before the interview, the detective added.
"He made several spontaneous utterances about he did not know why he committed the armed robbery. He had a good-paying job," Hudson testified. "He also stated that the only reason we caught him was because he came back for his clothes."
Hudson said Foster also calculated how old his children would be if he were to serve a 10-year sentence for the armed robbery.
The defendant did not testify.